If Truman Capote had lived to his 85th birthday, you can bet that today would be quite the party.
This native of New Orleans rocked the New York cafe and literary society with every word he wrote. Capote knew from a very young age that he would one day grow up and be Truman Capote. Perhaps the oldest living friend at his birthday party would be his old neighbor Harper Lee, who used young Capote as the basis for the character Dill in her novel To Kill a Mockingbird.
Capote’s literary fame grew as he developed into a celebrity himself. After the success of his first novel, Other Voices Other Rooms, he came out with a touching novella, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which gives us the greatest portrait into the heart of a young city gal in the 40’s. After its publication Norman Mailer called Capote "the most perfect writer of my generation," adding that he "would not have changed two words in Breakfast at Tiffany’s."
Many of the scenes and sensibilities were based on Capote’s platonic relationships with many fashionable celebrities and socialites of the day.
Audrey Hepburn immortalized the spirit of her the main character, Holly Golightly, in the film adaptation that redefined young female independence and mystique, with gowns designed by Givenchy.
One thing is for sure, Truman Capote was an ambassador or Bergdorf dandyism and he knew how to throw a party. Upon his return from a research trip to Kansas to research his novel-length true-crime masterpiece In Cold Blood, Capote threw the famous "Black and White Ball" at New York’s Plaza Hotel.
The years did not wear well on Capote. He did very well as a wonderchild, he adapted well to the Mad Menesque 60’s, but by the 70’s he was losing his grip and living a life of a teetering top on the dancefloor at studio 54. He died in California at age 59. It had been almost twenty years since his last significant publication. Norman Mailer described his death as "a good career move."