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Tom Wolfe, Star Journalist and Author of ‘The Right Stuff,’ Dies at 88

TOM WOLFETOM WOLFE AT A BOOK
Richard Young/REX/Shutterstock

Tom Wolfe, the author and journalist known for pioneering New Journalism, has died. He was 88.

Wolfe’s agent Lynn Nesbit confirmed to the Associated Press that Wolfe died of an infection in a New York City hospital.

His notable works include “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,” “The Right Stuff,” “The Last American Hero,” and “The Bonfire of the Vanities,” the last three of which were adapted into movies. The film version of “The Right Stuff,” about the Mercury Seven astronauts, was directed by Philip Kaufman in 1983. Wolfe penned the script, while Sam Shepard, Dennis Quaid, and Ed Harris starred in the film.

“The Bonfire of the Vanities” hit the big screen in 1990, directed by Brian De Palma and toplined by Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, and Melanie Griffith.

The writer, known for his dapper style and signature white suits, became a star in his own right in the ’70s and ’80s, which was rare for a journalist. Wolfe worked at The Washington Post and the New York Herald Tribune, where he developed “New Journalism,” a style marked by interior monologues and eccentric language. He went on to have best-selling success with his works of fiction and non-fiction, which also included “The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby.”

Born in Richmond, Va., Wolfe attended Washington and Lee University and went on to get his PhD at Yale before becoming a reporter. He is survived by his wife Sheila and son Tommy.