Porter, Darwin and Danforth Prince. “Pink Triangle: The Feuds and Private Lives of Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, Truman Capote, and Famous Members of Their Entourages”, Blood Moon Productions, 2014.
I Am Just Not Sure….
I must start this review with a disclaimer—I hate yellow journalism almost as much as I hate defaming the dead (especially if the defamed are heroes of mine) and this book does just that. Blood Moon productions has written several books that do just that—biographies of Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, Merv Griffin and Raymond Burr all focus on tawdriness and rumor rather than on research on fact. Porter and Prince capitalize on the sordid and the nasty and I actually confronted the publishers on this last year at the Rainbow Book Festival and they were nice considering that I have never given them a favorable review.
Here we first focus on Gore Vidal and get “an overview of Vidal’s hot, then glacial, relationship with the fabled diarist Anaïs Nin”, and the drawn-out slugfests which followed. We then move on to Truman Capote who became the pet puppy of the women of the jet set who seemed to always be amid those fashionable women and he could not keep his mouth shut. He eventually fell out of favor when they realized that he was using them for fodder for his books.
He had famous feuds with Vidal who when asked what was the best career step that Capote ever made, Vidal answered “to die”. The two were not exactly friends. Capote had a public fight with Jacqueline Susann as he struggled to have a best seller. He described her as “a truck driver in drag.” He spent much time researching “In Cold Blood” which indeed put him on the bestseller list. We get the impression that he fell in love with a killer who was a character in that book as well as one of the main characters in it. We read about his very famous party and how he spiraled downward to drugs, self-destruction and alcohol.
According to the writers, Tennessee Williams was “incurably decadent” and he became famous just as his plays had done. We learn of his private life. Then are the rumors that were about these people and rather writing about them in simple prose, the authors put them in the form of questions—“Did Tennessee really perform fellatio on JFK at his Palm Beach compound? Did Warren Beatty really have sex with him as a means of procuring his role as the gigolo in The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone? What really happened to a then-unknown actor, Warren Beatty?
It is impossible to know what was true and what were the fabrications about the three authors here. There is no documentation and I learned long ago that rumor is nothing more than rumor.
Note: I could not decide whether this is fiction or nonfiction so it is in both categories.