Tom Wolfe, the impeccably attired author and early practitioner of groundbreaking “New Journalism” of the 1960s, died in a Manhattan hospital.
Wolfe, 87, passed away Monday, according to his agent Lynne Nesbit. The cause of death was not immediately made public.
Wolfe, widely regarded as one of the top American journalists of the 20th century, focused his keen eye and explosive writing style on subjects from the Merry Pranksters to the early days of the space race before turning to fiction.
His best-selling books included non-fiction like “The Right Stuff,” his riveting account of America’s first astronauts, and fiction like “The Bonfire of the Vanities” — his scathing satire of New York City in the ’80s.
Along with writers Truman Capote and Gay Talese, the detail-obsessed Wolfe — a fan of French novelist Emile Zola — was viewed as one of the driving forces behind the “New Journalism.”
Wolfe once said the genre’s methodology combined the emotional impact of fiction, the analysis of the best essays and the deep digging of the best reporting.
“Bonfire,” later made into a movie starring Tom Hanks and Bruce Willis, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and became one of the best-selling books of the 1980s.
“The Right Stuff” — turned into a movie as well — earned an American Book Award for Wolfe’s behind-the-scenes tale of the U.S. space program’s nascent years
His writing style, like his wardrobe, was frequently over the top — rife with exclamation points, italics and words conjured as Wolfe pounded on a vintage typewriter.
“Fuhgedaboudit” served as the one-stop New York dismissal for everything, while “radical chic” captured his take on the causes of limousine liberals.
Wolfe’s daily attire featured a three-piece suit, often white, along with a high-collared shirt, two-toned shoes and a silk tie.
His reporting career began in 1957 at the Springfield (Mass.) Union, and he arrived in New York City five years later at the New York Herald Tribune.
Wolfe quickly made a name for himself with nine non-fiction books, including “The Electric Kool-Aide Acid Test” about Keny Kesey and his Merry Pranksters.
Source: Ny Daily News