Norman Mailer

Norman Mailer 1923-2007

UPDATED 11/26/2007 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 11/26/2007 at 01:00 AM EST

As he lay in Manhattan's Mount Sinai Hospital, Norman Mailer knew he didn't have long to live. And when his time came, in the early morning hours of Nov. 10, he awoke, gave his son Stephen "a euphoric smile," Stephen says, and slipped away. "Norman," adds Mailer's wife, Norris, "saw death as just another adventure."

He had plenty of those before kidney failure ended his life at 84. The Brooklynite won two Pulitzer Prizes, directed films, ran for mayor of New York City, wed six times and had nine children. Famously pugnacious, he feuded with fellow writers and feminists. "He presented himself as a tough guy; that was a front," says author Gay Talese. "He had a big heart." Still, Mailer did get into scrapes. Worst was a 1960 party when he stabbed second wife Adele with a penknife. "He never apologized," says Adele, 82. Mailer settled in Provincetown, Mass., with Norris, a painter and "a stable, loving force," says friend Doris Kearns Goodwin, adding, "People were captivated by the bigger than life personality. But it's his words that will live on."

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Emma and Andrew: All About Hollywood's Cutest Couple
  • Prince George! More Yummy Photos

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine

Advertisement

From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners



Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters