A Final Word on Truman Capote

Posted on November 22, 2016 by Martin Oaks under Uncategorized

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Several of our readers have asked questions about Truman Capote, so we thought we would follow up with a few brief observations about his career. We have written about his friendship with Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, as well has his magnificent “Black and White Ball,” on previous blogs.

Truman Capote wrote a number of novels following The Thanksgiving Visitor and A Christmas Memory short stories, the two most notable being Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood.

Tiffany’s appeared in 1958 and was famously adapted for film in 1961. Starring Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly, it is less true to the novella than Capote would have preferred. He called it a “valentine to New York.” Nonetheless, it was a box office success and the score, which featured the Henry Mancini/Johnny Mercer song “Moon River,” is a classic.

Capote’s greatest success is the masterpiece, In Cold Blood. It is a relatively true account of a grisly multiple murder that took place in Holcomb, Kansas in 1959. Spending years meticulously researching the crime, Capote compiled more than 8,000 pages of notes in the process. The book is a riveting, tour de force that stands as one of the American classics of the last century. Millions of copies have been sold, it is still in print today.

Capote’s other real genius was self-promotion: check out the pictures above where he appeared on a number of covers of national magazines during the same week that the book was released. Dominating the media at the time, Capote literally minted money on major network television – these appearances translated into more and more book sales.

His long decent into alcoholism and drug addiction sadly marked the final years of his life.

Truman Capote was cremated, his ashes were scattered at Crooked Pond on Long Island, New York.

This brief profile hardly captures the impact Truman Capote had on both the literary and social scene at the time: if you’re interested, Gerald Clarke and George Plimpton have both written wonderful biographies about this truly unique figure.

Martin Oaks is a crematory and cemetery located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. We are open 24 hours, 7 days a week, including holidays. You can reach us any time at (469) 605-7215.

3 thoughts on “A Final Word on Truman Capote

  1. p. king says:

    hi , just finished watching movie about Capote researching the murders of the family in Kansas.At the end of movie it states that there is an epitaph on head stone , something to do with” tears and wishes ” . but the head stone has nothing on it but his name and d.o.b. Do you have any info.

    1. Pete Alexis says:

      The epigraph at the end of the movie “Capote” is a quote from St. Teresa: “More tear are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones.”
      This epigraph served as the title for Capote’s last, unfinished, novel “Answered Prayers,” which was published posthumously in 1987. The movie was obviously using the epigraph as a metaphor for Capote’s life.
      The actual story of Capote’s grave marker and cremains is more complex. What I am about to tell you is partially public record, and some information from a primary source who was involved in the disposition of the cremains.
      When Capote died in 1984 at Joanne Carson’s home in Los Angeles, California, he was cremated. The bulk of his cremains went to his longtime companion, Jack Dunphy; a portion of the cremains were given to Joanne Carson.
      Carson ultimately put at least some of Capote’s cremains to rest in Westwood Memorial Park in L.A. Those cremains are marked simply with his name and dates of birth and death.
      The cremains that went to Dunphy were finally scattered on Crooked Pond on Long Island, New York, along with Dunphy’s cremains. The land is owned by the Nature Conservancy – the Capote estate purchased this land as part of a Nature Conservancy preservation project.
      There is a plaque for both Capote and Dunphy near Crooked Pond. Capote’s inscription reads: “Truman Capote, 1924-1984, “The brain may take advice, but not he heart, and love, having no geography, knows no boundaries.”
      Does this answer your question?

  2. A Hill says:

    There must have also been more split up, since apparantly they were just sold in the past few years for 45,000 dollers at auction!

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