F. Scott Fitzgerald
Overview
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (September 24, 1896 – December 21, 1940) was an American author of novels and short stories, whose works are the paradigm writings of the Jazz Age
Jazz Age
The Jazz Age was a movement that took place during the 1920s or the Roaring Twenties from which jazz music and dance emerged. The movement came about with the introduction of mainstream radio and the end of the war. This era ended in the 1930s with the beginning of The Great Depression but has...

, a term he coined himself. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. Fitzgerald is considered a member of the "Lost Generation
Lost Generation
The "Lost Generation" is a term used to refer to the generation, actually a cohort, that came of age during World War I. The term was popularized by Ernest Hemingway who used it as one of two contrasting epigraphs for his novel, The Sun Also Rises. In that volume Hemingway credits the phrase to...

" of the 1920s. He finished four novels: This Side of Paradise
This Side of Paradise
This Side of Paradise is the debut novel of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Published in 1920, and taking its title from a line of the Rupert Brooke poem Tiare Tahiti, the book examines the lives and morality of post-World War I youth. Its protagonist, Amory Blaine, is an attractive Princeton University...

, The Beautiful and Damned
The Beautiful and Damned
The Beautiful and Damned, first published by Scribner's in 1922, is F. Scott Fitzgerald's second novel. The novel provides a portrait of the Eastern elite during the Jazz Age, exploring New York Café Society. As with his other novels, Fitzgerald's characters are complex, especially in their...

, Tender is the Night
Tender is the Night
Tender Is the Night is a novel by American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was his fourth and final completed novel, and was first published in Scribner's Magazine between January-April, 1934 in four issues...

 and his most famous, The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby is a novel by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. First published in1925, it is set on Long Island's North Shore and in New York City from spring to autumn of 1922....

. A fifth, unfinished novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon
The Love of the Last Tycoon
The Love of The Last Tycoon: A Western is an unfinished novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, compiled and published posthumously.-Publication history:The novel was unfinished and in rough form at the time of Fitzgerald's death at age 44...

, was published posthumously.
Quotations

All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.

Undated letter to his daughter "Scottie" (Frances Scott Fitzgerald|Frances Scott Fitzgerald).

The idea that to make a man work you've got to hold gold in front of his eyes is a growth, not an axiom. We’ve done that for so long that we've forgotten there’s any other way.

"Amory Blaine" in This Side of Paradise|This Side of Paradise (1920) Bk. 2, Ch. 5

Whenever you feel like criticizing any one... just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had.

The Great Gatsby (1925)

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

The Great Gatsby (1925)

Sometimes it is harder to deprive oneself of a pain than of a pleasure.

Tender is the Night (1934)

One writes of scars healed, a loose parallel to the pathology of the skin, but there is no such thing in the life of an individual. There open wounds, shrunk sometimes to the size of a pinprick, but wounds still. The marks of suffering are more comparable to the loss of a finger, or of the sight of an eye. We may not miss them, either, for one minute in a year, but if we should there is nothing to be done about it.

Tender Is the Night (1934) Bk. 3, Ch. 13

Either you think — or else others have to think for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you.

Tender Is the Night (1934)

I hate the place like poison with a sincere hatred.

Responding to a suggestion that he return to Hollywood to work on a script of Tender is the Night in a letter to his agent (10 January 1935)

In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day.

The Crack-Up|The Crack-Up (1936)

Before I go on with this short history, let me make a general observation– the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise. This philosophy fitted on to my early adult life, when I saw the improbable, the implausible, often the "impossible," come true.

The Crack-Up (1936)

Encyclopedia
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (September 24, 1896 – December 21, 1940) was an American author of novels and short stories, whose works are the paradigm writings of the Jazz Age
Jazz Age
The Jazz Age was a movement that took place during the 1920s or the Roaring Twenties from which jazz music and dance emerged. The movement came about with the introduction of mainstream radio and the end of the war. This era ended in the 1930s with the beginning of The Great Depression but has...

, a term he coined himself. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. Fitzgerald is considered a member of the "Lost Generation
Lost Generation
The "Lost Generation" is a term used to refer to the generation, actually a cohort, that came of age during World War I. The term was popularized by Ernest Hemingway who used it as one of two contrasting epigraphs for his novel, The Sun Also Rises. In that volume Hemingway credits the phrase to...

" of the 1920s. He finished four novels: This Side of Paradise
This Side of Paradise
This Side of Paradise is the debut novel of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Published in 1920, and taking its title from a line of the Rupert Brooke poem Tiare Tahiti, the book examines the lives and morality of post-World War I youth. Its protagonist, Amory Blaine, is an attractive Princeton University...

, The Beautiful and Damned
The Beautiful and Damned
The Beautiful and Damned, first published by Scribner's in 1922, is F. Scott Fitzgerald's second novel. The novel provides a portrait of the Eastern elite during the Jazz Age, exploring New York Café Society. As with his other novels, Fitzgerald's characters are complex, especially in their...

, Tender is the Night
Tender is the Night
Tender Is the Night is a novel by American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was his fourth and final completed novel, and was first published in Scribner's Magazine between January-April, 1934 in four issues...

 and his most famous, The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby is a novel by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. First published in1925, it is set on Long Island's North Shore and in New York City from spring to autumn of 1922....

. A fifth, unfinished novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon
The Love of the Last Tycoon
The Love of The Last Tycoon: A Western is an unfinished novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, compiled and published posthumously.-Publication history:The novel was unfinished and in rough form at the time of Fitzgerald's death at age 44...

, was published posthumously. Fitzgerald also wrote many short stories that treat themes of youth and promise along with despair and age.

Novels such as The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night were made into films, and in 1958 his life from 1937–1940 was dramatized in Beloved Infidel.

Life and career

Born in 1896 in Saint Paul
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Saint Paul is the capital and second-most populous city of the U.S. state of Minnesota. The city lies mostly on the east bank of the Mississippi River in the area surrounding its point of confluence with the Minnesota River, and adjoins Minneapolis, the state's largest city...

, Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

 to an upper middle class Irish Catholic
Irish Catholic
Irish Catholic is a term used to describe people who are both Roman Catholic and Irish .Note: the term is not used to describe a variant of Catholicism. More particularly, it is not a separate creed or sect in the sense that "Anglo-Catholic", "Old Catholic", "Eastern Orthodox Catholic" might be...

 family, Fitzgerald was named after his famous second cousin, three times removed, Francis Scott Key
Francis Scott Key
Francis Scott Key was an American lawyer, author, and amateur poet, from Georgetown, who wrote the lyrics to the United States' national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner".-Life:...

, but was referred to as "Scott." He was also named after his deceased sister, Louise Scott, one of two sisters who died shortly before his birth. His parents were Mollie (MacQuillan) and Edward Fitzgerald.

Scott spent the first decade of his childhood primarily in Buffalo, New York
Buffalo, New York
Buffalo is the second most populous city in the state of New York, after New York City. Located in Western New York on the eastern shores of Lake Erie and at the head of the Niagara River across from Fort Erie, Ontario, Buffalo is the seat of Erie County and the principal city of the...

 (1898–1901 and 1903–1908, with a short interlude in Syracuse, New York between January 1901 and September 1903). His parents, both practicing Catholics, sent Scott to two Catholic schools on the West Side of Buffalo, first Holy Angels Convent (1903–1904, now defunct) and then Nardin Academy
Nardin Academy
Nardin Academy was founded by the Daughters of the Heart of Mary in 1857. It is the oldest private Roman Catholic school in Western New York. The Academy includes a college preparatory high school for young women and a co-educational elementary school located in Buffalo, New York...

 (1905–1908). His formative years in Buffalo revealed him to be a boy of unusual intelligence and drive with a keen early interest in literature, his doting mother ensuring that her son had all the advantages of an upper-middle-class upbringing. In a rather unconventional style of parenting, Scott attended Holy Angels with the peculiar arrangement that he only go for half a day—and was allowed to choose which half.

When Scott was ten years old, his father was fired from Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble is a Fortune 500 American multinational corporation headquartered in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio and manufactures a wide range of consumer goods....

, and the family returned to Minnesota, where Fitzgerald attended St. Paul Academy in St. Paul from 1908–1911. His first literary effort, a detective story, was published in a school newspaper when he was 13. When he was 16, he was expelled from St. Paul Academy for neglecting his studies. He attended Newman School, a prep school
University-preparatory school
A university-preparatory school or college-preparatory school is a secondary school, usually private, designed to prepare students for a college or university education...

 in Hackensack, New Jersey
Hackensack, New Jersey
Hackensack is a city in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States and the county seat of Bergen County. Although informally called Hackensack, it was officially named New Barbadoes Township until 1921. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city population was 43,010....

, in 1911–1912, and entered Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

 in 1913 as a member of the Class of 1917. There he became friends with future critics and writers Edmund Wilson
Edmund Wilson
Edmund Wilson was an American writer and literary and social critic and noted man of letters.-Early life:Wilson was born in Red Bank, New Jersey. His father, Edmund Wilson, Sr., was a lawyer and served as New Jersey Attorney General. Wilson attended The Hill School, a college preparatory...

 (Class of 1916) and John Peale Bishop
John Peale Bishop
John Peale Bishop was an American poet and man of letters.Bishop was born in Charles Town, West Virginia, to a family from New England, and attended school in Hagerstown, Maryland. When 18, Bishop fell victim to a severe illness and lost his sight for some time...

 (Class of 1917), and wrote for the Princeton Triangle Club
Princeton Triangle Club
The Princeton Triangle Club is a theater troupe at Princeton University. Founded in 1891, it is the oldest touring collegiate musical-comedy troupe in the United States, and the only co-ed collegiate troupe that takes an original student-written musical on a national tour every year...

 and the Princeton Tiger
Princeton Tiger Magazine
Princeton Tiger or Tiger Magazine is a college humor magazine published by Princeton University undergraduates since 1882. A number of its writers and editors later went on to notable literary careers, including Booth Tarkington, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and John McPhee.The magazine's style has not...

. His absorption in the Triangle—a kind of musical-comedy society—led to his submission of a novel to Charles Scribner's Sons
Charles Scribner's Sons
Charles Scribner's Sons, or simply Scribner, is an American publisher based in New York City, known for publishing a number of American authors including Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Kurt Vonnegut, Stephen King, Robert A. Heinlein, Thomas Wolfe, George Santayana, John Clellon...

 where the editor praised the writing but ultimately rejected the book. He was a member of the University Cottage Club
University Cottage Club
The University Cottage Club is one of ten current eating clubs at Princeton University, in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. It is also one of the five bicker clubs, along with The Ivy Club, Tiger Inn, Cap and Gown Club, and Tower Club.-History:...

, which still displays Fitzgerald's desk and writing materials in its library. A poor student, Fitzgerald left Princeton to enlist in the US Army during World War I; however, the war ended shortly after Fitzgerald's enlistment.

Zelda Fitzgerald

While at a country club, Fitzgerald met Zelda Sayre (1900–1948), the "golden girl," in Fitzgerald's terms, of Montgomery
Montgomery, Alabama
Montgomery is the capital of the U.S. state of Alabama, and is the county seat of Montgomery County. It is located on the Alabama River southeast of the center of the state, in the Gulf Coastal Plain. As of the 2010 census, Montgomery had a population of 205,764 making it the second-largest city...

, Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

 youth society. Fitzgerald attempted to lay a foundation for his life with Zelda. Despite working at an advertising firm and writing short stories, he was unable to convince Zelda that he would be able to support her, leading her to break off the engagement.
Scott returned to his parents' house at 599 Summit Avenue
F. Scott Fitzgerald House
The F. Scott Fitzgerald House, also known as Summit Terrace, in Saint Paul, Minnesota is part of a rowhouse designed by William H. Willcox and Clarence H. Johnston, Sr.. The house, at 599 Summit Avenue, is listed as a National Historic Landmark for its association with author F. Scott Fitzgerald...

, on Cathedral Hill, in St. Paul, to revise The Romantic Egoist. Recast as This Side of Paradise, about the post-WWI flapper
Flapper
Flapper in the 1920s was a term applied to a "new breed" of young Western women who wore short skirts, bobbed their hair, listened to jazz, and flaunted their disdain for what was then considered acceptable behavior...

 generation, it was accepted by Scribner's
Charles Scribner's Sons
Charles Scribner's Sons, or simply Scribner, is an American publisher based in New York City, known for publishing a number of American authors including Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Kurt Vonnegut, Stephen King, Robert A. Heinlein, Thomas Wolfe, George Santayana, John Clellon...

 in the fall of 1919, and Zelda and Scott resumed their engagement. The novel was published on March 26, 1920, and became one of the most popular books of the year. Scott and Zelda were married in New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral
St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York
The Cathedral of St. Patrick is a decorated Neo-Gothic-style Roman Catholic cathedral church in the United States...

. Their only child, Frances Scott "Scottie" Fitzgerald
Frances Scott Fitzgerald
Frances Scott "Scottie" Fitzgerald was the only child of novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald. She was a writer, a journalist , and a prominent member of the United States Democratic Party."Scottie" was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota...

, was born on October 26, 1921 and died on June 16, 1986.

"The Jazz Age"

The 1920s proved the most influential decade of Fitzgerald's development. The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby is a novel by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. First published in1925, it is set on Long Island's North Shore and in New York City from spring to autumn of 1922....

, considered his masterpiece, was published in 1925. Fitzgerald made several excursions to Europe, mostly Paris and the French Riviera
French Riviera
The Côte d'Azur, pronounced , often known in English as the French Riviera , is the Mediterranean coastline of the southeast corner of France, also including the sovereign state of Monaco...

, and became friends with many members of the American expatriate community in Paris, notably Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American author and journalist. His economic and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the...

. Fitzgerald’s friendship with Hemingway was quite vigorous, as many of Fitzgerald’s relationships would prove to be. Hemingway did not get on well with Zelda. In addition to describing her as "insane" he claimed that she “encouraged her husband to drink so as to distract Scott from his work on his novel," the other work being the short stories he sold to magazines. As did most professional authors at the time, Fitzgerald supplemented his income by writing short stories for such magazines as The Saturday Evening Post
The Saturday Evening Post
The Saturday Evening Post is a bimonthly American magazine. It was published weekly under this title from 1897 until 1969, and quarterly and then bimonthly from 1971.-History:...

, Collier's Weekly
Collier's Weekly
Collier's Weekly was an American magazine founded by Peter Fenelon Collier and published from 1888 to 1957. With the passage of decades, the title was shortened to Collier's....

, and Esquire, and sold his stories and novels to Hollywood studios. This “whoring”, as Fitzgerald and, subsequently, Hemingway called these sales, was a sore point in the authors’ friendship. Fitzgerald claimed that he would first write his stories in an authentic manner but then put in “twists that made them into saleable magazine stories.”

Although Fitzgerald's passion lay in writing novels, only his first novel sold well enough to support the opulent lifestyle that he and Zelda adopted as New York celebrities. Because of this lifestyle, as well as the bills from Zelda's medical care when they came, Fitzgerald was constantly in financial trouble and often required loans from his literary agent, Harold Ober
Harold Ober
Harold Ober was an American literary agent.In 1907 — two years after graduating from Harvard with a degree in literature — Harold Ober became a literary agent at the Paul R. Reynolds Literary Agency. By 1908 he was representing such authors as Jack London and H. G. Wells. In 1929, he opened his...

, and his editor at Scribner's
Charles Scribner's Sons
Charles Scribner's Sons, or simply Scribner, is an American publisher based in New York City, known for publishing a number of American authors including Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Kurt Vonnegut, Stephen King, Robert A. Heinlein, Thomas Wolfe, George Santayana, John Clellon...

, Maxwell Perkins
Maxwell Perkins
William Maxwell Evarts Perkins , was the editor for Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe. He has been described as the most famous literary editor.-Career:...

. When Ober decided not to continue advancing money to Fitzgerald, the author severed ties with his longtime friend and agent. (Fitzgerald offered a good-hearted and apologetic tribute to this support in the late short story "Financing Finnegan".)

Fitzgerald began working on his fourth novel during the late 1920s but was sidetracked by financial difficulties that necessitated his writing commercial short stories, and by the schizophrenia
Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by a disintegration of thought processes and of emotional responsiveness. It most commonly manifests itself as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking, and it is accompanied by significant social...

 that struck Zelda in 1930. Her emotional health remained fragile for the rest of her life. In 1932, she was hospitalized in Baltimore, Maryland. Scott rented the "La Paix" estate in the suburb of Towson, Maryland
Towson, Maryland
Towson is an unincorporated community and a census-designated place in Baltimore County, Maryland, United States. The population was 55,197 at the 2010 census...

 to work on his latest book, the story of the rise and fall of Dick Diver, a promising young psychiatrist who falls in love with and marries Nicole Warren, one of his patients. The book went through many versions, the first of which was to be a story of matricide
Matricide
Matricide is the act of killing one's mother. As for any type of killing, motives can vary significantly.- Known or suspected matricides :* Amastris, queen of Heraclea, was drowned by her two sons in 284 BC....

. Some critics have seen the book as a thinly-veiled autobiographical novel
Autobiographical novel
An autobiographical novel is a form of novel using autofiction techniques, or the merging of autobiographical and fiction elements. The literary technique is distinguished from an autobiography or memoir by the stipulation of being fiction...

 recounting Fitzgerald's problems with his wife, the corrosive effects of wealth and a decadent lifestyle, his own egoism and self-confidence, and his continuing alcoholism. Indeed, Fitzgerald was extremely protective of his "material" (their life together). When Zelda wrote and sent to Scribner's her own fictional version of their lives in Europe, Save Me the Waltz
Save Me the Waltz
Save Me the Waltz is the only novel by Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald. Published in 1932, it is a semi-autobiographical account of her life and marriage to F. Scott Fitzgerald.-Background:...

, Fitzgerald was angry and was able to make some changes prior to the novel's publication, and convince her doctors to keep her from writing any more about what he called his "material," which included their relationship. His book was finally published in 1934 as Tender Is the Night
Tender is the Night
Tender Is the Night is a novel by American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was his fourth and final completed novel, and was first published in Scribner's Magazine between January-April, 1934 in four issues...

. Critics who had waited nine years for the followup to The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby is a novel by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. First published in1925, it is set on Long Island's North Shore and in New York City from spring to autumn of 1922....

 had mixed opinions about the novel. Most were thrown off by its three-part structure and many felt that Fitzgerald had not lived up to their expectations. The novel did not sell well upon publication, but like the earlier Gatsby, the book's reputation has since risen significantly.

Hollywood years

Although he reportedly found movie work degrading, Fitzgerald was once again in dire financial straits, and spent the second half of the 1930s in Hollywood, working on commercial short stories, scripts for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. is an American media company, involved primarily in the production and distribution of films and television programs. MGM was founded in 1924 when the entertainment entrepreneur Marcus Loew gained control of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures Corporation and Louis B. Mayer...

 (including some unfilmed work on Gone with the Wind
Gone with the Wind (film)
Gone with the Wind is a 1939 American historical epic film adapted from Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer-winning 1936 novel of the same name. It was produced by David O. Selznick and directed by Victor Fleming from a screenplay by Sidney Howard...

), and his fifth and final novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon
The Love of the Last Tycoon
The Love of The Last Tycoon: A Western is an unfinished novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, compiled and published posthumously.-Publication history:The novel was unfinished and in rough form at the time of Fitzgerald's death at age 44...

. Published posthumously as The Last Tycoon, it was based on the life of film executive Irving Thalberg
Irving Thalberg
Irving Grant Thalberg was an American film producer during the early years of motion pictures. He was called "The Boy Wonder" for his youth and his extraordinary ability to select the right scripts, choose the right actors, gather the best production staff and make very profitable films.-Life and...

. Scott and Zelda became estranged; she continued living in mental institutions on the East Coast, while he lived with his lover Sheilah Graham, the gossip columnist, in Hollywood. From 1939 until his death, Fitzgerald mocked himself as a Hollywood hack
Hack writer
Hack writer is a colloquial and usually pejorative term used to refer to a writer who is paid to write low-quality, rushed articles or books "to order", often with a short deadline. In a fiction-writing context, the term is used to describe writers who are paid to churn out sensational,...

 through the character of Pat Hobby in a sequence of 17 short stories, later collected as "The Pat Hobby Stories
The Pat Hobby Stories
The Pat Hobby Stories are a collection of 17 short stories written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, first published by Arnold Gingrich of Esquire magazine between January 1940 and May 1941, and later collected in one volume in 1962...

" which garnered many positive reviews.

Illness and death

Fitzgerald had been an alcoholic since his college days, and became notorious during the 1920s for his extraordinarily heavy drinking, leaving him in poor health by the late 1930s. According to Zelda's biographer, Nancy Milford, Scott claimed that he had contracted tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

, but Milford dismisses it as a pretext to cover his drinking problems. However, Fitzgerald scholar Matthew J. Bruccoli contends that Fitzgerald did in fact have recurring tuberculosis, and Nancy Milford reports that Fitzgerald biographer Arthur Mizener said that Scott suffered a mild attack of tuberculosis in 1919, and in 1929 he had "what proved to be a tubercular hemorrhage". It has been said that the hemorrhage was caused by bleeding from esophageal varices
Esophageal varices
In medicine , esophageal varices are extremely dilated sub-mucosal veins in the lower esophagus...

.

Fitzgerald suffered two heart attacks in late 1940. After the first, in Schwab's Drug Store
Schwab's Drug Store
Schwab's Pharmacy was a drug store located at 8024 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California, and was a popular hangout for movie actors and movie industry dealmakers from the 1930s through the 1950s...

, he was ordered by his doctor to avoid strenuous exertion. He moved in with Sheilah Graham, who lived in Hollywood on North Hayworth Ave., one block east of Fitzgerald's apartment on North Laurel Ave. Fitzgerald had two flights of stairs to get to his apartment; Graham's was a ground floor apartment. On the night of December 20, 1940, Fitzgerald and Sheilah Graham attended the premiere of "This Thing Called Love
This Thing Called Love
This Thing Called Love is a US romantic comedy film starring Edmund Lowe, Constance Bennett, Ruth Taylor, Roscoe Karns, Zazu Pitts, and Jean Harlow. Harlow appears in a cameo role, as she was not yet famous....

" starring Melvyn Douglas
Melvyn Douglas
Melvyn Edouard Hesselberg , better known as Melvyn Douglas, was an American actor.Coming to prominence in the 1930s as a suave leading man , Douglas later transitioned into more mature and fatherly roles as in his Academy Award-winning performances in Hud...

 and Rosalind Russell
Rosalind Russell
Rosalind Russell was an American actress of stage and screen, perhaps best known for her role as a fast-talking newspaper reporter in the Howard Hawks screwball comedy His Girl Friday, as well as the role of Mame Dennis in the film Auntie Mame...

. As the two were leaving the Pantages Theater, Fitzgerald experienced a dizzy spell and had trouble leaving the theater; upset, he said to Ms. Graham, "They think I am drunk, don't they?"

The following day, as Scott ate a candy bar and made notes in his newly arrived Princeton Alumni Weekly, Ms. Graham saw him jump from his armchair, grab the mantelpiece, gasp, and fall to the floor. She ran to the manager of the building, Harry Culver
Harry Culver
Harry Hazel Culver was a real estate developer and promoter. He was born in Milford, Nebraska, the middle child of five of Jacob H. and Ada L. Culver, who lived on a farm. At age 18, he enlisted in the Spanish-American War and served as a corporal and sergeant, respectively...

, founder of Culver City. Upon entering the apartment and assisting Scott, he stated, "I'm afraid he's dead." Fitzgerald had died of a massive heart attack. His body was moved to the Pierce Brothers Mortuary.
Among the attendants at a visitation held at a funeral home was Dorothy Parker
Dorothy Parker
Dorothy Parker was an American poet, short story writer, critic and satirist, best known for her wit, wisecracks, and eye for 20th century urban foibles....

, who reportedly cried and murmured "the poor son-of-a-bitch," a line from Jay Gatsby's funeral in Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby is a novel by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. First published in1925, it is set on Long Island's North Shore and in New York City from spring to autumn of 1922....

. His body was shipped to Baltimore, Maryland, where his funeral was attended by twenty or thirty people in Bethesda; among the attendants were his only child, Frances "Scottie" Fitzgerald Lanahan Smith, and his editor, Maxwell Perkins. Fitzgerald was originally buried in Rockville Union Cemetery
Rockville Union Cemetery
Rockville Cemetery was established in 1738 by the Anglican Prince George's Parish. It is the oldest burying ground in Rockville, Maryland and is located at 1350 Baltimore Road, adjacent to the Rockville Civic Center. Ownership changed in 1880 to the Rockville Cemetery Association...

. Zelda died in 1948, in a fire at the Highland Mental Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville is a city in and the county seat of Buncombe County, North Carolina, United States. It is the largest city in Western North Carolina, and the 11th largest city in North Carolina. The City is home to the United States National Climatic Data Center , which is the world's largest active...

. Frances "Scottie" Fitzgerald Lanahan Smith worked to overturn the Archdiocese of Baltimore's ruling that Fitzgerald died a non-practicing Catholic, so that he could be buried at the Roman Catholic Saint Mary's Cemetery where his father's family was interred. Both Scott's and Zelda's remains were moved to the family plot in Saint Mary's Cemetery, in Rockville, Maryland
Rockville, Maryland
Rockville is the county seat of Montgomery County, Maryland, United States. It is a major incorporated city in the central part of Montgomery County and forms part of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area. The 2010 U.S...

, in 1975.

Fitzgerald died before he could complete The Love of the Last Tycoon
The Love of the Last Tycoon
The Love of The Last Tycoon: A Western is an unfinished novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, compiled and published posthumously.-Publication history:The novel was unfinished and in rough form at the time of Fitzgerald's death at age 44...

. His manuscript, which included extensive notes for the unwritten part of the novel's story, was edited by his friend, the literary critic Edmund Wilson
Edmund Wilson
Edmund Wilson was an American writer and literary and social critic and noted man of letters.-Early life:Wilson was born in Red Bank, New Jersey. His father, Edmund Wilson, Sr., was a lawyer and served as New Jersey Attorney General. Wilson attended The Hill School, a college preparatory...

, and published in 1941 as The Last Tycoon. In 1994 the book was reissued under the original title The Love of the Last Tycoon, which is now agreed to have been Fitzgerald's preferred title.

Legacy

Fitzgerald's work legend has inspired writers ever since he was first published. The publication of The Great Gatsby prompted T. S. Eliot
T. S. Eliot
Thomas Stearns "T. S." Eliot OM was a playwright, literary critic, and arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century. Although he was born an American he moved to the United Kingdom in 1914 and was naturalised as a British subject in 1927 at age 39.The poem that made his...

 to write, in a letter to Fitzgerald, "[I]t seems to me to be the first step that American fiction has taken since Henry James
Henry James
Henry James, OM was an American-born writer, regarded as one of the key figures of 19th-century literary realism. He was the son of Henry James, Sr., a clergyman, and the brother of philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James....

...". Don Birnam, the protagonist of Charles Jackson
Charles R. Jackson
Charles Reginald Jackson was an American author, best known for his 1944 novel The Lost Weekend.-Career:Jackson's first published story, "Palm Sunday", appeared in the Partisan Review in 1939...

's The Lost Weekend
The Lost Weekend (novel)
The Lost Weekend is Charles R. Jackson's first novel, published by Farrar & Rinehart in 1944. It served as the basis for a film adaptation by the same name in 1945.-Synopsis:...

, says to himself, referring to The Great Gatsby, "There's no such thing...as a flawless novel. But if there is, this is it." In letters written in the 1940s, J. D. Salinger
J. D. Salinger
Jerome David Salinger was an American author, best known for his 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye, as well as his reclusive nature. His last original published work was in 1965; he gave his last interview in 1980....

 expressed admiration of Fitzgerald's work, and his biographer Ian Hamilton
Ian Hamilton (critic)
Robert Ian Hamilton was a British literary critic, reviewer, biographer, poet, magazine editor and publisher....

 wrote that Salinger even saw himself for some time as "Fitzgerald's successor." Richard Yates
Richard Yates (novelist)
Richard Yates was an American novelist and short story writer, known for his exploration of mid-20th century life.-Life:...

, a writer often compared to Fitzgerald, called The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby is a novel by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. First published in1925, it is set on Long Island's North Shore and in New York City from spring to autumn of 1922....

 "the most nourishing novel [he] read...a miracle of talent...a triumph of technique." It was written in a New York Times editorial after his death that Fitzgerald "was better than he knew, for in fact and in the literary sense he invented a generation.... He might have interpreted them and even guided them, as in their middle years they saw a different and nobler freedom threatened with destruction."

Into the 21st century, millions of copies of The Great Gatsby and his other works have been sold, and Gatsby, a constant best-seller, is required reading in many high school and college classes.

Fitzgerald is a 2009 inductee of the New Jersey Hall of Fame
New Jersey Hall of Fame
The New Jersey Hall of Fame is an organization that honors individuals from the U.S. state of New Jersey who have made contributions to society and the world beyond....

. He is also the namesake of the Fitzgerald Theater
Fitzgerald Theater
The Fitzgerald Theater is the oldest existing stage venue in the city of Saint Paul, Minnesota, and the home of American Public Media's A Prairie Home Companion. It was one of many theaters built by the Shubert Theatre Corporation, and was initially named the Sam S. Shubert Theater...

 in St. Paul, Minnesota, home of the radio broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion
A Prairie Home Companion
A Prairie Home Companion is a live radio variety show created and hosted by Garrison Keillor. The show runs on Saturdays from 5 to 7 p.m. Central Time, and usually originates from the Fitzgerald Theater in Saint Paul, Minnesota, although it is frequently taken on the road...

.

Fitzgerald was the first cousin once removed of Mary Surratt
Mary Surratt
Mary Elizabeth Jenkins Surratt was an American boarding house owner who was convicted of taking part in the conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln. Sentenced to death, she was hanged, becoming the first woman executed by the United States federal government. She was the mother of John H...

, hanged in 1865 for conspiring to assassinate Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

.

Portrayals

A musical about the lives of Fitzgerald and wife Zelda Fitzgerald
Zelda Fitzgerald
Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald , born Zelda Sayre in Montgomery, Alabama, was an American novelist and the wife of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. She was an icon of the 1920s—dubbed by her husband "the first American Flapper"...

 was composed by Frank Wildhorn
Frank Wildhorn
Frank Wildhorn is an American composer known for both his musicals and popular songs. He is most known for his musical Jekyll & Hyde, which ran four years on Broadway, and for writing the #1 International Hit song "Where Do Broken Hearts Go?" for Whitney Houston.-Early years:Wildhorn was born in...

 entitled Waiting for the Moon
Waiting For The Moon (musical)
Waiting for the Moon: An American Love Story, formerly Zelda or Scott & Zelda: The Other Side Of Paradise, is a musical with music by Frank Wildhorn and lyrics by Jack Murphy. It is the second finished production the two have presented, having previously collaborated on The Civil War...

, formerly known as Zelda, followed by Scott & Zelda: The Other Side Of Paradise. The musical shows their lives from when they first met, through Fitzgerald's career, their lives together (the good and bad), to both of their deaths. The musical made its world premiere at the Lenape Regional Performing Arts Center in a production that ran from July 20, 2005 through July 31, 2005. It starred Broadway veteran actors Jarrod Emick
Jarrod Emick
Jarrod Emick is an American musical theatre actor best known for his performance as Joe Hardy in Damn Yankees.-Biography:...

 as Fitzgerald and Lauren Kennedy
Lauren Kennedy
Lauren Kennedy is an actress and a singer who has performed numerous times on Broadway. She most recently starred in the Off-Broadway show Good Ol' Girls at the Black Box Theatre during the 2009-2010 season...

 as Zelda.

The Japanese Takarazuka Revue
Takarazuka Revue
The Takarazuka Revue is a Japanese all-female musical theater troupe based in Takarazuka, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. Women play all roles in lavish, Broadway-style productions of Western-style musicals, and sometimes stories adapted from shōjo manga and Japanese folktales. The troupe takes its name...

 has also created a musical adaptation of Fitzgerald's life. Entitled The Last Party: S. Fitzgerald's Last Day, it was produced in 2004 and 2006. Yuhi Oozora and Yūga Yamato
Yuga Yamato
is a former top star for Cosmos Troupe of Takarazuka Revue. She joined the company in 1995 and became the top star in February 2007 upon the resignation of Kei Takashiro, which made her the first otokoyaku to be top in her class...

 starred as Fitzgerald, while Zelda was played by Kanami Ayano
Kanami Ayano
Kanami Ayano is a former top star for Moon Troupe of Takarazuka Revue. She joined the revue company in 1997 and became the top star along with Jun Sena, a former troupe mate from Flower Troupe...

 and Rui Shijou.

Fitzgerald was portrayed by the actor Malcolm Gets
Malcolm Gets
Hugh Malcolm Gerard Gets is an American actor. He is best known for his role as Richard in the American television sitcom Caroline in the City. Gets is also a dancer, singer, composer, classically trained pianist, vocal director, and choreographer. He has a small part in the film adaptation of...

 in the 1994 film Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle
Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle
Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle is a 1994 film scripted by writer/director Alan Rudolph and former Washington Star reporter Randy Sue Coburn...

. Others include the TV movies Zelda (1993, with Timothy Hutton
Timothy Hutton
Timothy Tarquin Hutton is an American actor. He is the youngest actor to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, which he won at the age of 20 for his performance as Conrad Jarrett in Ordinary People . He currently stars as Nathan "Nate" Ford on the TNT series Leverage.-Early life:Timothy...

), F. Scott Fitzgerald in Hollywood (1976, with Jason Miller
Jason Miller (playwright)
Jason Miller was an American actor and playwright. He received the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play That Championship Season, and was widely recognized for his role as Father Damien Karras in the 1973 horror film The Exorcist...

), and F. Scott Fitzgerald and 'The Last of the Belles (1974, with Richard Chamberlain
Richard Chamberlain
George Richard Chamberlain is an American actor of stage and screen who became a teen idol in the title role of the television show Dr. Kildare .-Early life:...

).

A film based on Fitzgerald and Zelda's relationship called "The Beautiful and the Damned" (not an adaptation of the novel of the same name) was announced for a 2011 release by director John Curran.

The last years of Fitzgerald and his affair with Sheilah Graham, the Hollywood gossip columnist, was the theme of the movie Beloved Infidel (1959). The film depicts Fitzgerald (played by Gregory Peck
Gregory Peck
Eldred Gregory Peck was an American actor.One of 20th Century Fox's most popular film stars from the 1940s to the 1960s, Peck continued to play important roles well into the 1980s. His notable performances include that of Atticus Finch in the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird, for which he won an...

) during his final years as a Hollywood scenarist and his relationship with Ms. Graham (played by Deborah Kerr
Deborah Kerr
Deborah Kerr, CBE was a Scottish film and television actress from Glasgow. She won the Sarah Siddons Award for her Chicago performance as Laura Reynolds in Tea and Sympathy, a role which she originated on Broadway, a Golden Globe Award for the motion picture The King and I, and was a three-time...

), with whom he had a years-long affair, while his wife, Zelda, was institutionalized. Another film, Last Call (2002) (Jeremy Irons
Jeremy Irons
Jeremy John Irons is an English actor. After receiving classical training at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Irons began his acting career on stage in 1969, and has since appeared in many London theatre productions including The Winter's Tale, Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, The Taming of the...

 plays Fitzgerald) describes the relationship with Frances Kroll (Neve Campbell
Neve Campbell
Neve Adrianne Campbell is a Canadian actress. After beginning her career on stage, and on numerous commercials, she starred on the Canadian television series Catwalk. She then rose to international fame on the Golden Globe-winning 1990s television series Party of Five, playing the role of teenager...

) during his last two years of life. The film was based on the memoir of Frances Kroll Ring, titled Against the Current: As I Remember F. Scott Fitzgerald (1985), that records her experience as secretary to Fitzgerald for the last 20 months of his life.

The standard biographies of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald are Arthur Mizener's The Far Side of Paradise
The Far Side of Paradise
The Far Side of Paradise is a biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald by Arthur Mizener. It was the first biography about Fitzgerald to be published and is credited with renewing public interest in the subject...

 (1951, 1965) and Matthew Bruccoli's
Matthew Bruccoli
Matthew Joseph Bruccoli was an American professor of English at the University of South Carolina. He was the preeminent expert on F. Scott Fitzgerald...

 Some Sort of Epic Grandeur (1981). Fitzgerald's letters have also been published in various editions such as Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda: The Love Letters of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, ed. Jackson R. Bryer and Cathy W. Banks (2002); Correspondence of F. Scott Fitzgerald, ed. Matthew Bruccoli and Margaret Duggan (1980), and F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Life in Letters, ed. Matthew Bruccoli (1994). A collection of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald's scrapbooks of photographs and reviews was compiled by Bruccoli and F. Scott and Zelda's daughter Frances "Scottie" Fitzgerald
Frances Scott Fitzgerald
Frances Scott "Scottie" Fitzgerald was the only child of novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald. She was a writer, a journalist , and a prominent member of the United States Democratic Party."Scottie" was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota...

 (Appearing as Scottie Fitzgerald Smith) in a book The Romantic Egoists (1976).

Zelda Fitzgerald
Zelda Fitzgerald
Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald , born Zelda Sayre in Montgomery, Alabama, was an American novelist and the wife of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. She was an icon of the 1920s—dubbed by her husband "the first American Flapper"...

 published an autobiographically-charged novel, Save Me the Waltz
Save Me the Waltz
Save Me the Waltz is the only novel by Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald. Published in 1932, it is a semi-autobiographical account of her life and marriage to F. Scott Fitzgerald.-Background:...

, in 1934.

Fitzgerald appears alongside Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso
Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso known as Pablo Ruiz Picasso was a Spanish expatriate painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer, one of the greatest and most influential artists of the...

 and Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American author and journalist. His economic and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the...

 in the play Villa America by British playwright Crispin Whittell
Crispin Whittell
Crispin Whittell is a British director and playwright.He spent much of his early life in Africa. He was a member of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, and studied English at Cambridge University.-Career:...

 which premiered at Williamstown Theatre Festival
Williamstown Theatre Festival
The Williamstown Theatre Festival is a regional summer stock theatre on the campus of Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, founded in 1954 by Williams College news director, Ralph Renzi, and drama program chairman, David C. Bryant. The theatre was conceived as a way to use the Adams...

 (2007).

Tom Hiddleston
Tom Hiddleston
Thomas William "Tom" Hiddleston is an English actor. He is perhaps best known for playing Loki in the 2011 Marvel Studios film Thor.-Early life and education:...

 and Alison Pill
Alison Pill
Alison Courtney Pill is a Canadian actress best known from her roles in Milk, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Midnight in Paris.-Life and career:...

 appear briefly as Fitzgerald and Zelda in Woody Allen's
Woody Allen
Woody Allen is an American screenwriter, director, actor, comedian, jazz musician, author, and playwright. Allen's films draw heavily on literature, sexuality, philosophy, psychology, Jewish identity, and the history of cinema...

 2011 feature film Midnight In Paris
Midnight in Paris
Midnight in Paris is a 2011 romantic comedy-fantasy film written and directed by Woody Allen. The plot centers on a small group of Americans visiting the French capital for business and pleasure...

.

External links

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