Newton Arvin, via Capote: A Biography
“The staple of life is certainly suffering, though surely not its real meaning, and we differ mainly in our capacity to endure it—or be diverted from it.”
Newton Arvin, via Capote: A Biography
“Beautiful Benedetta Barzini, who was wearing a Kenneth Jay Lane necklace as a mask, had an uncomfortable moment when Lane attempted to introduce her to Sam Spiegel. Both men were surprised when she rudely snubbed the man responsible for the Oscar-winning Lawrence of Arabia and Bridge on the River Kwai. Later, she explained to Lane that Spiegel had been one of the first people she visited when she moved to America at age seventeen. Even though she had presented a letter of introduction to Spiegel from her father, he attempted to seduce her. Benedetta was not planning on talking to him that night or any other.”
Deborah Davis, Party of the Century: The Fabulous Story of Truman Capote and His Black and White Ball
To which famed literary character did Vanity Fair editor (pre-Tina) Leo Lerman compare his deceased friend Truman Capote?
“The chief problem rich people face is the endemic boredom of living in a social ghetto. Because one class of people all think the same way, all have the same desires, all have roughly the same amount of wealth, and they bore each other silly.”
Dodson Rader, The Capote Tapes
By the early 1970s, Truman Capote’s long relationship with fellow writer Jack Dunphy had evolved into part-time companionship. Truman became besotted with an unassuming (and previously straight) air-conditioning repairman named Danny, whom he met while wintering in Palm Springs. The repairman had no interest in international society, but headstrong Truman took him on a gilded tour of Europe anyway, expecting his A-List friends to welcome him. For the most part they did. Some, such as John Richardson, went above and beyond in an attempt to alleviate Danny's homesickness.
One of their stops was a dinner party hosted by Gianni and Marella Agnelli at their palazzo in Turin. Truman’s friend somehow landed the seat next to the Queen of Denmark at dinner. When the Danish queen inquired whether Danny had previously visited Europe, he answered:
“It is rarely that, after middle age, one makes a great new friend, but I really believe I can put the American, Truman Capote, in that category.”
Cecil Beaton, The Strenuous Years, Diaries: 1948-55
Their friendship would eventually decline, roughly coinciding with the publication of In Cold Blood in 1966. Per Beaton biographer Hugo Vickers: “Cecil found it hard to forgive success in others and this marked a gradual diminution of his friendship with Truman. He felt that Truman was wasting his talents in social life.”
Image Credit: The Strenuous Years, Diaries: 1948-55
“So now [the restaurant] is starting to do all right, but I’m having trouble with my partner, Donald, who’s supposed to be helping me but was spending all his time at the bar, drinking. When he did handle the door, which was his job, he was a disaster. One night Truman Capote came to the entrance and Don said, ‘I’m not letting f*** in here’ and turned him away. Not long after that I bought off Don’s share and we parted company.”
Elaine Kaufman, Everyone Comes to Elaine’s
Image Credit: Everyone Comes to Elaine's
“The best parody of Truman remained Truman himself … until he lost control of it.”
John Malcom Brinnin, Truman Capote, Dear Heart, Old Buddy
Read what happened when Truman Capote lost control here.
“She’s a genius but she’s the kind of genius that very few people will ever recognize because you have to have genius yourself to recognize it. Otherwise you just think she’s a rather foolish woman.”
Truman Capote, Empress of Fashion, A Life of Diana Vreeland
Image Credit: Diana Vreeland: Immoderate Style
“One of the immediately striking things about Beaton’s personal behavior is the manner in which he creates an illusion of time-without-end. Though he is apparently always under the pressure of a disheartening schedule, one would never suppose he wasn’t a gentleman of almost tropical leisure.”
Truman Capote, The Best of Beaton
The above portrait of Cecil Beaton by his friend Rex Whistler was one of the lots in a 2008 Sotheby's London sale, "Pruskin: Decorative Art 1880-1960."