Biography of Famous Alcoholic and Writer F. Scott Fitzgerald

About the famous American writer and alcoholic F. Scott Fitzgerald, about his struggle with the disease.

F. SCOTT FITZGERALD (1896-1940). American novelist and short-story writer.

Scott Fitzgerald's early novels and numerous short stories, plus his own self-indulgent lifestyle, made him the personification of the Roaring Twenties, a generation of "flaming youth." He was born in St. Paul to a prosperous family, attended Princeton, and served in the Army during W. W. I. The publication of This Side of Paradise when he was 24 brought him instant fame and the money to enjoy it. His marriage to Zelda Sayre the same year was hailed as "the romance of the century," and their extravagant escapades amid fashionable society in the U.S. and in Europe enhanced his reputation. Fitzgerald's alcoholism contributed to his image in the 1920s and to his downfall in the 1930s. "He was committing suicide on the installment plan," wrote Sara Mayfield. ". . . if Scott took more than 3 cocktails, he was off on a spree that left him shot for a week."

As Fitzgerald's drinking continued, his productivity began to decrease, his health failed, and his financial problems accumulated. Zelda suffered an emotional breakdown in 1930, and was in and out of various mental hospitals for the rest of her life. Fitzgerald went through his publicly confessed crack-up, that period when "in a real dark night of the soul it is always 3 o'clock in the morning, day after day." He spent his last years in Hollywood, receiving some comfort from his mistress Sheilah Graham, working off and on as a screenwriter, producing numerous magazine stories, and writing his unfinished novel, The Last Tycoon, which was published after his death. He died of a heart attack at the age of 44.

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