5 Fast Facts on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Birthday!

We’re celebrating F. Scott Fitzgerald 126th birthday by sharing some facts that you may not know! Hint, hint, he was a great writer, but also a prankster!

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F. Scott Fitzgerald is best remembered for his most notable work, The Great Gatsby, along with The Curious of Benjamin Button and Babylon (Revisited), but do you really want to know who the literary legend is? Find out more about his life and career journey here.

1. At one point, his best friend, Ernest Hemingway, became his rival.

He also mentored him to some degree, but at one point, their friendship began to sizzle out as Hemingway’s fame grew much more significant than Fitzgerald’s. There were several factors why their friendship failed. Fitzgerald was an alcoholic and unstable during his later years, and since Hemingway was becoming so popular, his jealousy grew. Ultimately they became rivals. Their writing styles differed, whereas Fitzgerald would commercially edit his novels, and Hemingway only cared about the storytelling aspects.

2. At first, The Great Gatsby was considered a flop. 

I know, the utter shock! Although it won many awards during Fitzgerald’s life, it was not considered a bestseller. He managed only to sell a little over 20,000 copies. It wasn’t until World War II, that it began to attract readers. About 150,000 copies were shipped out to the military overseas, and other re-releases helped catapult The Great Gatsby to becoming a top literary fiction worldwide.

3. He tried becoming a screenwriter over and over–

His one and only playwright, The Vegetable, subtitled From President to Postman, was the only script that he managed to finish. He still flopped. In 1927, he headed to Hollywood to write his original piece, Lipstick, which fell apart because of his near-consistent misbehaviors at parties. A few years later, he tried again. He was more determined because he was low on cash and impartial to his wife’s health conditions. Nevertheless, his alcoholism cost him his job when he caused another scene at a party.

Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald Ernest Hemmingway
With his wife, Zelda Fitzgerald. IMAGE VIA PINTEREST.

4. He was a prankster.

Amidst him trying to become a screenwriter, he and his wife pulled a “prank” at a party. He pretended to be a magician and asked everyone for their jewelry, watches, or anything valuable. He put the belongings in a tomato sauce and cooked it on a stove. That’s what cost him his screenwriting gig…

5. In school, Fitzgerald wasn’t the brightest.

He was considered a strong writer, but he struggled to pass his classes in grade school and college. How he got into Princeton University is beyond me. He eventually dropped out and joined the army. Despite having strong prose, he was a horrible speller. Many suspect he had dyslexia. 

Looking at these facts, it’s safe to say our friend Fitzgerald had a tough life, and his alcoholism ruined a lot of friendships and job opportunities. He will always be known as a writer legend, but sadly his legacy is tainted—nevertheless, Happy Birthday, Fitzgerald. Rest easy. 

Read more about Fitzgerald here!