In 1940, on this day the American author of Jazz-age novels and short stories Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald died in Hollywood, Los Angeles.
Happy Endings Part 9a
Death of F. Scott FitzgeraldA decade before he had been committed to a mental hospital at the urging of his wife, Zelda (pictured). It was a shocking but somehow suitable ending to the Roaring Twenties. The Fitzgeralds had been the very essence of the Jazz Age, which Scott had immortalized in now-classic novels like This Side of Paradise and The Great Gatsby. He had, in fact, termed his wife "the first American flapper".
But now he had decided to commit her to the hospital. Having overheard his intentions during a phone call to his friend Ernest Hemingway while all three are living in Paris, she knew she must strike first. Selling her jewels to pay the required two doctors to testify against her husband, she also used all the charm she acquired as a Southern belle back in Montgomery, Alabama to win them to her side.
That included her helpless weeping over her poor husband's plight .. backed up by the photos she secretly took of his attacks of fury, that included throwing chandeliers. She manages to be away from home when the ambulance comes, leaving her with no need to answer his wild charges that she is the crazy one.
But she still had one danger to overcome. During that fatal phone call, Hemingway assured her husband that "She is a bitch and she is crazy". Now she had to prove that neither charge was true, in case Hemingway used his own growing influence as a popular author to turn those charges against her.
So she hurried to Ernest's side, turning on the charm and the tears once more. He cannot resist putting his arms around her as she wept on his shoulder, and soon they were joined in a much more intimate embrace. It leads to his divorcing his second wife Pauline and making Zelda into Mrs. Hemingway.
The happy couple is still married when he dies of natural causes 30 years later, leaving her with his rich stock of literary royalties, along with their luxurious Florida and Cuba homes.
An article from the Happy Endings series.