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Gore Vidal remembered by Center Theatre Group's founding artistic director

Author Gore Vidal appears in conversation with writer Jon Wiener at the 12th Annual L.A. Times Festival of Books in Royce Hall on the UCLA campus on April 28, 2007 in Los Angeles.
Author Gore Vidal appears in conversation with writer Jon Wiener at the 12th Annual L.A. Times Festival of Books in Royce Hall on the UCLA campus on April 28, 2007 in Los Angeles.
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The death of Gore Vidal leaves a hole in America’s literature arena. He was the writer of essays and books, movies and plays.

A play he wrote in 1960, "The Best Man," is currently on Broadway. It’s a political piece.

"It was extraordinarily relative to our time," said Gordon Davidson, the founding artistic director of Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles. "It was theatrical dialogue — it wasn't realism, it was theatrical. I thought he was never being highbrow, he was just smart and sharp and fearless."

Davidson said he can’t remember how he met Vidal, but told KPCC’s Steve Julian that it was always important to get him to the theater.

"He was just delicious because he was so capable and so sharp about his observations," Davidson said.

Vidal and Davidson used to meet for lunch to talk about projects.

Davidson said he asked Vidal about writing a play about the history of Los Angeles from his perspective, but the project never panned out.

"He would have been very happy doing a movie about it," Davidson said. "But the theater, for him — and this is an irony — had lost its edge."

You can listen to the full interview with Gordon Davidson here.