Beautiful New York

A Celebration of the City

The Top 100 Greatest New Yorkers — #59

Truman Capote (1924 – 1984)

59 Truman Capote

While many ambitious artists come from little rural towns to New York City to seek their fortune, none have fit into the metropolitan vibe quite so comfortably or iconically as Truman Capote. The abandoned southern farm boy, turned New York intellectual, was a genius of self-promotion and a darling of high society even before publishing one of the most quintessential New York novels ever written, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. He also wrote for Broadway, penning the play The Grass Harp and the musical House of Flowers both based on his earlier stories. As man about town, Capote also personified the culture of “jet set” New Yorkers, holding court at La Côte Basque with some of café society’s most legendary socialites, and throwing the party of the decade with his famous Black-and-White Ball at the Plaza Hotel in 1966. After inventing the true crime novel with In Cold Blood, Capote’s star waned and fell. Alcohol and drug addiction took a permanent toll and he died of liver failure at age 59. Six years later, his star rose again on Broadway when Robert Morse won a Tony Award for playing Capote in the one-man play Tru.


1 Comment

  1. Truman Capote was living in UN Plaza Apartments at the time Johnny Carson was doing the Tonight Show from New York. The Carsons (wife of the moment, Joann) and Capote were neighbors. After Truman Capote’s early demise Joann Carson became the literary executor of the Truman Capote estate.

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