Culture&Arts

Author Tom Wolfe Dies at 88, Agent Says

Author Tom Wolfe Dies at 88, Agent Says

Author Tom Wolfe, whose novels The Right Stuff and The Bonfire of the Vanities were made into feature films, has died at age 88. He had been hospitalised with an infection.

William F. Buckley Jr., writing in National Review, once said of Wolfe: "He is probably the most skillful writer in America - I mean by that he can do more things with words than anyone else".

After graduating from St. Christopher's School, an Episcopal all-boys school in Richmond, Wolfe rejected a chance to enroll at Princeton University to stay in Virginia and attend Washington and Lee University, a private liberal arts school in Lexington.

Despite earning a Ph.D., Wolfe set out on a career in journalism, working as a reporter at the Springfield Union in MA and later at The Washington Post.

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During his several years in Washington, he also experimented with enriching features with fiction techniques. The writer pioneered New Journalism, a 1960s and 1970s literary movement characterized by colorful longform pieces written in a subjective voice.

Wolfe moved to writing novels in the mid-1980s, penning "The Bonfire of the Vanities".

"His work changed my life and convinced me to write nonfiction", bestselling writer Susan Orlean wrote of Wolfe in a Twitter post on Tuesday.

Tom then became a world-renowned author, thanks to non-fiction titles including The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, published in 1968. He rose to fame for his essays and bold arguments coupled with exhaustive reporting, peaking with the book The Right Stuff in 1979, which focused on the first American astronauts and the Mercury space program. I wanted to do New York High and Low.

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In 1990, it was for the big screen in a movie starring Tom Hanks, Kim Cattrall, Melanie Griffith and Bruce Willis.

He was also known for his signature style, adopting an all-white suit as his trademark in 1962.

Wolfe is survived by his wife and two children.

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