The Bonfire of the Vanities author Tom Wolfe dies aged 87


The Right Stuff, Wolfe's 1979 account of the early days of the USA space program and the test pilots recruited for it, remains his best-selling work.

As a reporter, Wolfe became part of the new journalism movement of the 1960s and 70s, which featured the likes of Truman Capote, Hunter S Thompson and Norman Mailer.

His 1970 book Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, examined racial tensions in the United States and lampooned some of the good intentions of NY liberals in awkward detail.

His first work of fiction turned out to be his most famous, the bestseller The Bonfire of the Vanities, an epic satire on social class, ambition, racism, politics and greed in 1980s NY.

Wolfe's 1975 book about the US art world, The Painted Word, outraged many artists with its depiction of an insular village.

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Bonfire was made into a 1990 film starring Tom Hanks, Melanie Griffith and Bruce Willis. It took him 11 years to finish his second novel, A Man in Full, which was published in 1998.

When I arrived at my next editor in chief job, at NY magazine, my fundamentalist vision was to make it as much as possible like the NY to which Mr. Wolfe (and Ms. Ephron) had been a founding contributor 20 years earlier.

Born in Richmond, Virginia, on March 2, 1930, Wolfe was a star baseball player at his high school and also edited its newspaper.

The New York Post reports that Wolfe, who began working as a journalist for the New York Herald Tribune in 1962, was known for being one of the first journalists to apply literary techniques to their work, a style that was coined New Journalism.

Wolfe was also famous for his dapper "Southern gentleman" look, often appearing in public in a pristine white suit, white homburg hat, and two-tone shoes. He had two children.