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Truman Capote

Born: New Orleans, United States of America

Born Truman Streckfus Persons in New Orleans, Truman Capote was a writer, socialite, celebrated wit, and gossip. One of his childhood friends, Harper Lee, grew up to write To Kill a Mockingbird. She based the character Dill on her friend Truman.

Truman Capote was widely hailed as a stylist after publication of his earliest writings. These include his novel of alienated youth, Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948); the Gothic short stories in A Tree of Night (1949); and the lighter novel The Grass Harp (1951; play, 1952; film, 1995).

The novella Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958) introduced the charming, hedonistic Holly Golightly as a heroine, played by Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 film. Childhood reflections formed the basis of two short stories that were adapted for television: "A Christmas Memory" (1956) and "The Thanksgiving Visitor" (1968).

Capote is perhaps best known for the so-called nonfiction novel In Cold Blood (1966; film, 1967), based on a six-year study of the murder of a rural Kansas family by two young drifters. It created a sensation and enhanced its author's reputation.

Capote wrote about the jet set in The Dogs Bark: Public People and Private Places (1973). Answered Prayers, an unfinished novel, was published posthumously in 1987. "The Bargain," a short story by Capote, was found in his personal papers in the archives of the New York Public Library and was published in 2004, the same year that The Complete Stories of Truman Capote was published.

This biography was provided by America the Beautiful and the Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. Visit Grolier Online for more information on these resources.