"Show me a hero and I'll write you a tragedy."

Francis Scott (Key) Fitzgerald was born in St Paul, Minnesota in 1896. He was given three names after the writer of The Star Spangled Banner, to whom he was distantly related. His father, Edward Fitzgerald, was a Southern gentleman and failed businessman. His mother, Mary McQuillan, was the daughter of an Irish furniture wholesaler. In 1913 Fitzgerald went to Princeton University but did not graduate. Instead, he joined the army was discharged in 1919. During that time he met Zelda Sayre, who he married in 1920.

In the same year as his marriage, his first novel, This Side of Paradise, was published and became an instant success, enabling Fitzgerald and Zelda to pursue the decadent lifestyle they craved. In 1922 they moved to the affluent Long Island community of Great Neck, which provided Fitzgerald with the material for his novel, The Great Gatsby (1925). The book was well received by the critics but did not bring the financial rewards he had hoped for and in order to finance his extravagant lifestyle Fitzgerald wrote stories for various magazines. His published works include, Tender Is the Night (1934), The Diamond as Big as The Ritz (1922), The Beautiful and Damned (1922) and The Last Tycoon (1941)

During the next five years the Fitzgeralds travelled back and forth between Europe and America as they found Europe cheaper to live in. In 1930 Zelda suffered the first of many nervous breakdowns, and was hospitalized on a number of occasions both in Europe and America. Fitzgerald, meanwhile was drinking heavily. In 1937 he travelled to Hollywood where he met the gossip columnist, Sheila Graham, with whom he lived for the rest of his life. He died of a heart attack in her apartment on December 21st, 1940. Zelda died in a hospital fire in 1948.


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