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Gore Vidal was born in 1925 to West Point aeronautics instructor Gene Vidal and his wife Nina. The Vidals endured a rocky marriage divorcing ten years after Gore's birth. Young Gore spent much of his childhood with his blind grandfather, Senator T.P. Gore of Oklahoma. He is also a cousin of Tennessee ex-senator and ex-vice president Al Gore. Vidal would later become the confidant of Jacqueline Kennedy when his mother married Jackie's ex-stepfather, Hugh D. Auchincloss. After graduating from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1943, Gore joined the US Army Reserves. Some of his Army experiences inspired his first novel, Williwaw, which was published when he was just 19. He dedicated the novel to J.T., a deceased prep-school friend. Subsequent novels would prominently feature gay male characters, and Gore found soon found his books had staying power on bestseller lists. In 1960, he unsuccessfully ran for Congress, backed by celebrity supporters like Paul Newman & Vidal's ex-fiancé Joanne Woodward. Another unsuccessful foray into politics would occur in 1982 when he ran for governor of California. In addition to being an accomplished writer, he is also a novice actor. His biggest roles to date have been in Gattaca (1997), Bob Roberts (1992), and With Honors (1994).