Is Kate McCloud from Feud: Capote vs the Swans A Real Person? Inspiration Explored

Kate McCloud from Feud: Capote vs the Swans A Real Person
Credit: FX

Kate McCloud from Feud: Capote vs the Swans A Real Person
Credit: FX

Is Kate McCloud from Capote vs the Swans a real person? Find out everything we know about the character from Answered Prayers, the book that strained Capote's friendships with members of New York's high society.

Who Is Kate McCloud?

Kate McCloud is a character in Truman Capote's unfinished book, Answered Prayers.

She is the eponymous heroine of the novel's "Kate McCloud" chapter.

The new season of Feud, subtitled Capote vs the Swans explores this rift between Capote and the socialites of New York due to the publication of chapters from Answered Prayers in the American magazine Esquire.

While Answered Prayers is, strictly speaking, a work of fiction, Capote's socialite friends and their husbands immediately recognize it as a thinly veiled account of events from their own lives.

The novel's partial publication led Capote's friends to ostracize him, further contributing to his decline.

The Feud season itself is based on the book Capote's Women: A True Story of Love, Betrayal, and a Swan Song for an Era by journalist and historian Laurence Leamer.

Capote vs the Swans: Is Kate McCloud Based on a Real Person?

Is Kate McCloud Based on a Real Person?
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Credit: FX

Kate McCloud herself is not a real person but the character is based on real women from New York's high society, who were Truman Capote's friends.

Most critics recognize Mona von Bismarck, an American socialite and 20th-century fashion icon, as the most likely inspiration for Kate McCloud.

Von Bismarck, however, is not one of the real people who are dramatized in Feud: Capote vs the Swans.

This suggests that the Ryan Murphy TV show might explore other possible inspirations who were also Capote's contemporaries, including Babe Palley, Slim Keith, C. Z. Guest, Lee Radziwill, and Ann Woodward.

In Answered Prayers, the character of Kate is represented as a socialite shrouded in mystery; an unattainable love object who is kept isolated by a rich husband.

In many ways, Kate McCloud embodies New York's high society in Capote's time more generally.

In her character, and not only, Capote's friends saw enough of themselves and the details of their lives that they had confided in him to be enraged and shun him from then on.

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