On 23 April, receives (for the second time) Harvard University’s Signet Society Medal for Achievement in the Arts.
“New York Intelligencer: Norman Mailer’s Non-Self Portrait.” Column by Pat Wechsler and Roger D. Friedman. New York, 19 September, 13. Mailer is quoted briefly in this piece, which explains why Random House will not be publishing his next book, a biography, Portrait of Picasso as a Young Man (95.38). See 93.4.
“Like a Lady.” Esquire, August, 40-56; cover story. Interview with Madonna. Wide-ranging interview on sex, AIDS, the media, and artistic growth. Rpt: Several long excerpts from this interview appeared in a 12 July Liz Smith column, subtitled “Mailer-Madonna Gush Fest,” in Newsday, A4, A11; 98.7 (partial).
“Mailer: Wills is Full of Bile.” Letter to the editor. New York Post, 25 July, 20. Mailer responds to a 21 July column by Garry Wills in which he speaks of Mailer as “supporting a gaggle of children from his huddle of various wives.” Mailer says, “For shame, Garry Wills. You sound like George Will.”
“Mailer’s Side.” Letter to the editor. Arkansas Times, 7 July, 6. Mailer corrects comments by Crescent Dragonwagon, daughter of Maurice Zolotow, concerning “a host of accusations against my book, Marilyn [73.30], speaking of libel, invasion of privacy and plagiarism.” These accusations were later withdrawn by Zolotow after the publishers of Marilyn paid him $22,500 for permission to quote from his biography of Marilyn Monroe, instead of the “pittance” (according to Mailer) he had been previously paid. Mailer puts Dragonwagon on notice about “disseminating a canard against my literary reputation.”
“On Eddie’s First Collection of Stories.” Provincetown Arts 10 (July), 59. Mailer’s 1977 blurb for The Wine Cellar, a collection of stories by his late friend, Eddie Bonetti, is included in a memorial article. Mailer says that the collection “is a work about Italians living in America that begins where The Godfather ends,” and compares Bonetti’s prose with that of Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck.
Comments. In Shot in the Heart, by Mikal Gilmore [brother of Gary Gilmore], passim. New York: Doubleday, June. See 79.14.
Letter to the editor. New Yorker, 18 April, 10. Mailer responds to a comment by Pauline Kael in the 21 March issue that he once offered to butt heads with her. He says if he did, it was a joke. “You have to feel kinship with somebody to butt his head.”
“Who Are You?” Article-interview by James Baron. New York Times, 13 February, Sec. 9 (“Style”), pp. 1, 7. In the wake of a national New York Times/CBS poll that asked 1,136 adults to describe themselves in one word, 26 “prominent people,” including Mailer, were asked the same question. Some of the others were former mayors of New York Ed Koch (“candid”) and David Dinkins (“caring”), Mary Gordon, novelist (“seeing”), David Lynch, film director (“confused”) and Camille Paglia, feminist social critic (“ambition”). Mailer’s answer: “Improvisational.” He continued, saying, “In a time when all ideologies…have significantly failed us as guides to a reasonable inner life, it helps to treat each situation before us as novel, just born, without guide or precedent.”