"In Cold Blood" by Truman Capote is a non-fiction novel published in 1966. The book is considered by some authors to be the first "True Crime" novel of it's kind ever written. Though originally lauded for it's research and prose, the novel has since received some criticism including those that say that Capote invented … [Read more...] about In Cold Blood
Truman Capote was born Truman Streckfus Persons in New Orleans, Louisiana on September 30th, 1924. After his parents divorced when he was only four, Capote was sent to live with his mother's relatives in Monroeville, Alabama where he became childhood friends with fellow author Harper Lee. Capote was a lonely child otherwise and taught himself to read and write before ever entering school. He began writing his own stories at the age of eleven and submitted a story called "Old Mrs. Busybody" to a children's writing contest. He began receiving recognition for his stories in 1936.
When he was a 9 years old, Capote moved to New York to live with his mother and her new husband, Joseph Capote who adopted him as his step-son and gave him his last name. However, Joseph was convicted of embezzlement and the family had to leave Park Avenue.
Capote attended high school in Connecticut where he wrote for the school paper. His family returned to New York shortly after and Capote began working as a copy boy at The New Yorker. Capote began writing short stories constantly and was nominated for the O. Henry award in 1948. His stories began being published in magazines when he was in his 20's. Capote's short stories began being published in collections by Random House publishers in the 1940's to much success from the public.
Capote published his first novel, "Other Voices, Other Rooms" in 1948 which contained obvious homosexual subtext as it was around this time that Capote began realizing that he was gay. Capote was one of the first celebrities to be openly homosexual in a time when it was not accepted at all in America. The novel made the bestseller list of The New York Times and stayed there for nine weeks. The controversy and promotion of this novel was the catalyst that brought Capote to fame all over the country.
In the 1950's, Capote began writing Broadway plays and films. He adapted his novella, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" to a 1958 movie starring Audrey Hepburn that is still considered a classic today.
In 1958, Capote became interested in writing True Crime-style books after hearing about a the grisly murder of a family in Kansas. He traveled to Kansas to interview everyone involved with the murders and later produced his second novel, "In Cold Blood" in 1966 which was also lauded by critics. After the success of the book, Capote moved to Palm Springs, California and began writing smaller magazine articles while he took a break from novel-writing.
Unfortunately, Capote became so busy with his own celebrity that he never wrote another novel. Capote began to suffer from heavy drug problems in the 1970's and regularly attended various drug rehabs during that decade.
Capote died at the age of 59 in Bel Air, Los Angeles on August 25th, 1984. The coroner's official report revealed his death to have been caused by "liver disease complicated by phlebitis and multiple drug intoxication". Capote was cremated and his ashes were given to his long-time companion, Jack Dunphy. After Dunphy's death in 1992, his and Capote's ashes were scattered where they had lived in Bridgehampton, New York. A stone marker now indicates this spot.