Author. He is best remembered for his novella "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1958) and for his nonfiction novel "In Cold Blood" (1966). Both stories were later made into movies of the same name. Born Truman Streckfus Persons in New Orleans, Louisiana to Archulus "Arch" Persons, a salesman, and Lillie Mae Faulk, a 16-year-old beauty queen. When he was four years old, his parents divorced, and he was raised by his maternal aunt in Monroeville, Alabama. Quiet and serious, he learned to read early and by age 11, was showing signs of being a serious writer. In 1933, he moved to New York City to live with his mother and her second husband, Joseph Capote, who adopted him and renamed him Truman Garcia Capote. He attended the Trinity School and later, the Greenwich High School where he wrote for the school newspaper, "The Green Witch." When he was 17, he ended his formal education and began a job with "The New Yorker" magazine. He choose not to go to college, believing "that either one was or wasn't a writer, and no combination of professors could influence the outcome." In 1945, at age 21, Mademoiselle magazine published his short story, "Miriam", which won the O. Henry Award for the best first-published story in 1946. The award resulted in a contract with Random House to write a novel, which Capote used to write "Other Voices, Other Rooms" (1948). The author's photo which Capote used for the back of the book caused a public uproar, in that he posed in a suggestive manner; the controversy brought Capote much media attention, and made him a "darling" of New York society. Flamboyant and outspoken, Capote was openly gay at a time when most gay men were silent and unobtrusive; in 1948, he began a non-exclusive relationship with fellow author Jack Dunphy, who would become his lifelong companion. After reading about the 1959 Clutter family murders in the "New York Times," Capote became fascinated with the story and traveled to Holcomb, Kansas, to investigate the killings. The resulting book, "In Cold Blood," instantly became a best seller. On November 28, 1966, he hosted a masked ball at the New York Plaza Hotel, in honor of publisher Katharine Graham and the success of his book "In Cold Blood;" the ball not only became the social event of the year, but also made him famous to New York high society; Deborah Davis even wrote a book about the event, "Party of the Century" (2006). In his later years, Capote became reclusive, in part from rejection from his wealthy, famous, upper crust friends who he had managed to alienate over the years, and partly due to his alcoholism and drug addiction. He was often hospitalized in his final years for drug abuse. He died in 1984 at age 59 from an overdose of pills in the Los Angeles home of Joanne Carson, the ex-wife of TV host Johnny Carson. He was cremated and buried in Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles, California, leaving behind his long-term companion, Jack Dunphy. When Dunphy died in 1992, some of their ashes were mixed together and scattered at Crooked Pond, Long Island, New York, where they had maintained property together. Another portion of his cremated remains were given to his friend, Joanne Carson. On September 24, 2016, the portion of Truman Capote's ashes that were in the possession of Joanne Carson (late ex-wife of the famed TV host, Johnny Carson), were sold at an estate auction to an unnamed buyer.
Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson
John Paul Dunphy