Norman Mailer 1923-2007
updated 11/26/2007 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 11/26/2007 AT 01:00 AM EST
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."