Truman Capote

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Truman Capote

Major Works


Short Stories

  • The Walls Are Cold (1943)
  • A Mink of One's Own (1944)
  • The Shape of Things (1944)
  • Miriam (1945)
  • A Tree of Night (1949)
  • Music for Chameleons (1980)

Plays and Screenplays

  • The Grass Harp (1952)
  • Beat the Devil (1954)
  • Turn of the Screw (1960)
  • The Innocents (1961)
  • A Christmas Memory (1966)
  • Among The Paths To Eden (1967)
  • Behind Prison Walls (1972)
  • Crimewatch (1973)


  • House of Flowers (1954)- musical
  • In Cold Blood (1967)- the movie
  • The Glass House (1972)
  • Local Color (1950)- journalistic pieces
Truman Capote


Capote was born in New Orleans on September 30, 1924 to Archulus Persons and Lillie Mae Faulk (Persons) with his birth name being Truman Streckfus Persons. The name Streckfus derived from the Streckfus Company that his father was currently employed with. He was born in the Touro Infirmary. During that time his parents lived in the Monteleone Hotel in New Orleans (Long 133). He adopted the Capote surname when his mother divorced Archulus Persons and remarried Joe Capote. He had a difficult childhood with a great absence of love (Grobel 47). His mother committed suicide on January 4, 1954 by overdosing on Seconal (Clarke 64). Capote and his mother both admitted that she was not suited for motherhood. In the late 1970’s, Capote was treated for a drug and alcohol addiction and suffered from tic doloroux (Krebs). Capote had written a lot of Answered Prayers while under the influence of cocaine. He stopped abusing cocaine when he realized that it made him too nervous to continue writing (Grobel 221). Capote’s best friend growing up was his neighbor, Nelle Harper Lee, the author of To Kill a Mockingbird. Lee based Dill Harris’s character upon Capote. Capote had previously based the character of Idabel Tompkins in Other Voices, Other Rooms on Nelle Harper Lee. At the age of seventeen, Capote went to work for two years at The New Yorker. During those two years he wrote his first unpublished novel, Summer Crossing (Krebs).He died August 25, 1984 , in Los Angeles at Joanna Carson‘s home, previous wife of Johnny Carson (Krebs).


  • 1946 - O. Henry Memorial Award - established in 1918 to be given to the best stories published in magazines - for the short story Miriam.


  • 1924 - On September 30, Truman Streckfus was born in New Orleans, LA, to Lilie Mae Faulk and Archulus Persons.
  • 1930 - He is left with elderly cousins in Monroeville, Alabama.
  • 1931 - His mother and father (Arch Persons) divorce on November 9th and his mother moves to New York.
  • 1932 - His mother marries Joe Capote and brings Truman to live in New York.
  • 1935 - He is adopted by his stepfather on February 14th.
  • 1939 - He and his family move to Greenwich, Connecticut, where he attends Greenwich High School.
  • 1942 - After dropping out of a high school in Greenwich, CT, Capote went to work for The New Yorker. "He started out in the accounting department, was transfered to the art department where he catalogued cartoons and clipped newspapers, and then was moved up to write items for the column 'The Talk of the Town' (Garson 3). In the same year, at the age of seventeen, he got his first stories accepted for publication.
  • 1946 - Capote was accepted into Yaddo, a writers’ colony in New York (Plimpton 51); won the O'Henry Award for the short story "Miriam".
  • 1948 - The year Capote's first novel - Other Voices, Other Rooms - was published. Despite the opinions both in favor and agaisnt it, the novel became a success and it instantly brought fame to its author, who was then only in his early twenties.
  • 1954 - The first important film work, a screenplay Beat the Devil, was written in collaboration with John Huston, a Hollywood director.
  • 1958 - Capote reader's most favorite story - Breakfast at Tiffany's, which ended the ten-year period of the sencond cycle - was published.
  • 1966 - In Cold Blood appeared in print. It was an innovative hybrid of journalistic fact and creative fiction. This novel marked the peak in Capote's career. Capote hosted a masked ball for approximately five hundred of his closest friends in New York at the Plaza Hotel.
  • 1975 - He allowed Esquire magazine to print portions of his unfinished novel, Answered Prayers as an attempt to prove that he was healthy and not an alcoholic or drug addict.
  • 1984 - The writer died in Bel-Air, CA, on August 25.

Additional Reading about the Author

  • Capote : A Biography by Gerald Clarke

Works Cited

  • Clarke, Gerald, ed. Too Brief a Treat: The Letters of Truman Capote. New York: Random House, 2004.
  • Garson, Helen S. Truman Capote. New York, Frederick Ungar Publishing Co. 1980.
  • Grobel, Lawrence. Conversations with Capote. New York: New American Library. 1985.
  • Krebs, Albin. “Truman Capote Is Dead at 59; Novelist of Style and Clarity.” New York Times 26 Aug. 1984, sec. L1+
  • Liukkonen, Petri."Truman Capote".Litweb.Truman Capote 19 March 2006
  • Long, Judy. Literary New Orleans. Georgia: Hill Street Press. 1999.
  • Plimpton, George. Truman Capote: In Which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances, and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career. New York: Doubleday Dell Publishing Group. 1997.
  • P[limpton], G[eorge] A. (ed.).: Truman Capote, screenwriter: Beat the Devil. Paris Review (Flushing, NY) (38:138) [Spring 1996] , p.125.