Gore Vidal. I read many of his books, and every one of his essays printed in the New York Review of Books back in the 1980s, '90s and later.
Of his books, here is my assessment:
His greatest book: Creation
My favorite Vidal novel: Julian
His great historical fiction series: Narratives of Empire
His scariest book: Kalki (Mick Jagger owns the screenplay rights)
Here's a link to what may be his best late interview - for Vanity Fair in 2009. One of the often-repeated quotes in the interview is his short assessment of Sarah Palin (Vidal served in the Aleutians during World War II): "The curse of Alaska has struck again. I believe oblivion is from whence she came and where she will soon repair to. She doesn’t deserve to be our national liar."
And here are five segments of the Gore Vidal - William F. Buckley exchanges during the 1968 Party Conventions:
FWIW, when William F. Buckley passed away in February, 2008, I wrote a tribute to him at Progressive Alaska.