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Truman Capote - Fall From Grace

book novel tombstones murder

Capote earned large advances for his next project, a book and movie deal of a projected novel called Answered Prayers. The book was supposed to be a gossipy account of his jet-setting lifestyle and the famous people he knew. The first few chapters caused quite a scandal when they appeared in a 1975 copy of Esquire magazine. Capote was socially shunned by many of his former friends and acquaintances and the book was never finished.

The alienation sent Capote into a downward spiral of drug and alcohol abuse that lasted throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s. His substance abuse problems affected his writing but Capote continued to make the rounds on television talk shows. His flamboyant personality was still considered a novelty in the entertainment business. He even made a cameo appearance in the murder mystery movie Murder By Death (1976). In 1977, he gave a reading of his works at a Maryland booking, but became so incoherent he had to be led off the stage.

The tombstones for killers Richard Hickcock and Perry Smith, in the Kansas Museum of History. Executed in 1965, the two men were buried beneath the tombstones donated by author Truman Capote. Their murders of the Herbert Clutter family in Holcomb six years earlier were immortalized by Capote in his novel, In Cold Blood. (AP/Wide World Photos)


After suffering from hallucinations and blackouts, Capote tried Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and rehabilitation hospitals but always went back to his old habits. Shortly before his sixtieth birthday, Capote arranged to spend several weeks in Los Angeles with his friend and longtime supporter Joanne Carson. He died at her home on August 25, 1984.


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