Fitzgerald Fun Facts



    1. While at Princeton, FSF was on academic probation.
    2. In the spring of 1917, FSF dropped out of school to avoid being expelled.
    3. FSF enlisted in the Army in 1917 and was commissioned a second lieutenant.
  1. Fearful that he would die in WWI, FSF wrote his first novel in the weeks between his enlistment and the day he was ordered to report for duty.
  2. In 1917, FSF sent this novel, The Romantic Egoist, to Scribner’s, who rejected it.
  3. While stationed at Camp Sheridan, outside Montgomery, AL, FSF met Zelda.
  4. Zelda initially refused to marry FSF because he had no money.
  5. When the war ended, FSF went to New York and worked for the Barron Collier advertising agency.
  6. FSF left Barron Collier and went home to St. Paul, where he took a job repairing cars while he revised The Romantic Egoist.
  7. When he resubmitted it a second time, Scribner’s accepted FSF’s novel and renamed it This Side of Paradise.
  8. TSOP was published on March 26 1920.
  9. Zelda reconsidered and came to New York, where they were married on April 3, 1920, eight days after TSOP was published.
  10. FSF and Zelda were married at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York.
  11. TSOP sold out its first printing in 24 hours and went through 12 reprintings in its initial release.
  12. FSF’s only child, daughter Frances Scott Fitzgerald, was born October 26, 1921.
  13. In 1922, FSF wrote his only play, The Vegetable.  It was not a hit.
  14. In 1922, FSF and family moved to Long Island, the setting of Gatsby, and lived there for a year.
  15. FSF’s second novel, The Beautiful and Damned, was published March of 1922.
  16. In December, 1922, Warner Brothers released a film version of The Beautiful and Damned, starring Marie Prevost.
  17. The director of the Beautiful and Damned film was William Seiter, who found fame in the 1930s directing films with Shirley Temple.
  18. FSF called the film version of Beautiful and Damned “by far the worst movie I’ve ever seen in my life – cheap, vulgar, ill-constructed and shoddy.”
  19. The Great Gatsby was written in 1923, while the Fitzgeralds lived in France.
  20. In France, FSF became part of the “Lost Generation,” which included Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and Picasso.
  21. FSF helped Hemingway find a publisher for his work.
  22. Hemingway detested Zelda and called her “insane.”
  23. Zelda thought Hemingway was a closeted homosexual who had a crush on FSF.
  24. FSF and family moved from France to Rome, where he revised Gatsby.
  25. The original title of The Great Gatsby was Trimalchio of West Egg.  Trimalchio is a character in Satyricon, who presides over orgies.
  26. Critical response to The Great Gatsby was good, but sales were not.
  27. For most of his life, FSF lived on money advanced by Harold Ober, his agent, against payment for stories to be written.
  28. When Harold Ober stopped advancing money to FSF, FSF severed all ties with him.
  29. FSF spent 1927 in Hollywood, but felt that movies were “degrading,” so quickly returned to fiction.
  30. Zelda was initially hospitalized in 1930, in a French sanitorium, with a diagnosis of “schizophrenia,” which was then a catch-all name for mental illness.
  31. For the rest of her life, from 1930 to 1948, Zelda spent the majority of time in psychiatric hospitals, in Europe and the U.S.
  32. In 1932, Scribner’s published Zelda’s novel, Save Me the Waltz.  FSF was furious because she had drawn on their life together and used material that he had planned for his next novel, Tender is the Night.
  33. Tender is the Night was published in 1934 and was FSF’s last complete novel.
  34. FSF returned to Hollywood in the mid-1930s and was under contract to MGM through 1939.
  35. FSF wrote uncredited dialogue for Gone With the Wind.
  36. From 1939 to his death in 1940, FSF wrote 17 Pat Hobby stories, describing the life of an alcoholic free-lance screenwriter in Hollywood.  These were published in Esquire magazine.
  37. FSF had his first heart attack in Schwab’s drugstore, the same place where Lana Turner was “discovered” at the soda fountain.
  38. At the time of his death, FSF lived on the estate of movie actor Edward Everett Horton, in Encino, CA.
  39. At the time of his death, FSF was having an affair with Sheilah Graham, a young British journalist.
  40. The night before his death, FSF attended a screening at the Pantages Theatre of “This Thing Called Love,” starring Rosalind Russell and Melvyn Douglas.
  41. During the visitation before FSF’s funeral, Dorothy Parker reportedly said, “the poor son-of-a-bitch,” a line from The Great Gatsby.
  42. Before his death, FSF had been working on a novel entitled The Love of the Last Tycoon, a story about the movie business.
  43. TLOTLT was published posthumously, in its unfinished form in 1941.
  44. TLOTLT was filmed in 1976.  It starred Robert DeNiro and was written by Harold Pinter and directed by Elia Kazan.
  45. TLOTLT was Elia Kazan’s final film.
  46. J.D. Salinger once referred to himself as “Fitzgerald’s successor.”
  47. FSF was the first cousin, once removed, of Mary Surratt, who was hanged in 1865 for conspiring to assassinate Abraham Lincoln.


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