Truman Garcia Capote (; born Truman Streckfus Persons, September 30, 1924 – August 25, 1984) was an American novelist, screenwriter, playwright, and actor. Many of Capote's short stories, novels, plays, and nonfiction are recognized as literary classics, including the novella Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958) and the true crime novel In Cold Blood (1966), which he labeled a "nonfiction novel". At least 20 films and television dramas have been produced from Capote novels, stories, and plays.
Capote rose above a childhood troubled by divorce, a long absence from his mother, and multiple migrations. He had discovered his calling as a writer by the age of 8 (The Dick Cavett Show, aired August 21, 1980), and for the rest of his childhood he honed his writing ability. Capote began his professional career writing short stories. The critical success of one story, "Miriam" (1945), attracted the attention of Random House publisher Bennett Cerf, and resulted in a contract to write the novel Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948). Capote earned the most fame with In Cold Blood, a journalistic work about the murder of a Kansas farm family in their home. Capote spent four years writing the book aided by his lifelong friend Harper Lee, who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird (1960).
A milestone in popular culture, In Cold Blood was the peak of Capote's literary career. In the 1970s, he maintained his celebrity status by appearing on television talk shows.
Capote died in Bel Air, Los Angeles, on August 25, 1984, age 59. According to the coroner's report, the cause of death was "liver disease complicated by phlebitis and multiple drug intoxication." He died at the home of his old friend Joanne Carson, ex-wife of late-night TV host Johnny Carson, on whose program Capote had been a frequent guest. Gore Vidal responded to news of Capote's death by calling it "a wise career move".
Capote was cremated and his remains were reportedly divided between Carson and Jack Dunphy (although Dunphy maintained that he received all the ashes). Carson said she kept the ashes in an urn in the room where he died. Those ashes were reported stolen during a Halloween party in 1988 along with $200,000 in jewels but were then returned six days later, having been found in a coiled-up garden hose on the back steps of Carson's Bel Air home. The ashes were reportedly stolen again when brought to a production of Tru but the thief was caught before leaving the theatre. Carson bought a crypt at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles. In 2013 the producers offered to fly Carson and the ashes to New York for a Broadway production of Breakfast at Tiffany's. Carson declined the offer. Dunphy died in 1992, and in 1994, both his and Capote's ashes were reportedly scattered at Crooked Pond, between Bridgehampton, New York, and Sag Harbor, New York on Long Island, close to Sagaponack, New York, where the two had maintained a property with individual houses for many years. Crooked Pond was chosen because money from the estate of Dunphy and Capote was donated to the Nature Conservancy, which in turn used it to buy 20 acres around Crooked Pond in an area called "Long Pond Greenbelt." A stone marker indicates the spot where their mingled ashes were thrown into the pond. In 2016, some of Capote's ashes previously owned by Joanne Carson were auctioned by Julien's Auctions.