The Curious Case of F. Scott Fitzgerald (Oscars)

By Jack Engelhard


F. Scott Fitzgerald’s last royalty check came to around $4.85. In the beginning (with the publication of “This Side of Paradise”) he was America’s literary darling. In the end, practically everybody gave up on him. Hollywood snubbed him. His wife, Zelda, died in an insane asylum. Only his lover, the columnist Sheila Graham, remained loyal.


The author of “The Great Gatsby” — the prince of novels in our literary kingdom – died forgotten, a self-perceived failure.


Today, even Hollywood appreciates him. A short story of his, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” was turned into a movie and won two Oscars at last night’s Academy Awards. Too bad he’s dead. Fitzgerald could have used some of that love when he was still alive. He got nothing but scorn.


This may well typify the life of a novelist in Hollywood, or the life of a novelist, period. How we glorify our artists usually too late!