It Seems Like Yesterday

Truman Capote was one of my favorite subjects. You never knew what he was going to say or do. The diminutive writer was at times the most melancholic person I have ever met, yet he was so clever. He had an uncanny way of reading your mind … intuitively he knew I wanted interesting photographs, and he compiled.

It was fascinating to listen to him talk about writing his groundbreaking non-fiction novel In Cold Blood. He felt one of the murderers, Perry Smith, was the only person who ever truly loved him … both Truman and I thought the book should have won a Pulitzer Prize.

When his alcoholic mother committed suicide in 1953, Truman was sent to live with relatives in Alabama. He ultimately left school at 17 and found his way to The New Yorker magazine, which published his early short stories. 

When Breakfast at Tiffany’s starring Audrey Hepburn was released in 1958, Capote was disappointed. He told me he felt someone like actress Tuesday Weld should have had the part—someone more street-smart.

Truman wrote several notes to me on various legal pads … all of them amusing. Here he signs his name with letters back to front: 

Otherwise known as Namurt Eeopac”

I really liked him; he was an original.

Truman Capote in the cold Atlantic near his cottage in Wainscott, Long Island, 1982. (Courtesy of Harry Benson)