Gore Vidal was among the last generation of literary writers who were also genuine celebrities — regulars on talk shows and in gossip columns, personalities of such size and appeal that even those who hadn’t read their books knew their names. He was 86 when he died Tuesday at his home in Los Angeles. Throughout his life, he picked apart politicians, living and dead; mocked religion and prudery; opposed wars and insulted his peers like no other. (Associated Press)