Biography (1977)

Genres - History, Language & Literature  |   Sub-Genres - Biography, Literary Studies, Social History  |   Run Time - 60 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |  
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Synopsis by John Patrick Sheehan

This edition of Biography, the long running documentary series from A&E, explores the life of F. Scott Fitzgerald He spent four years at Princeton, but left before graduating to join the army during World War I. His first novel, This Side of Paradise made him temporarily rich and famous. Later that year he married Zelda Sayre, an aspiring writer he had met while stationed in Alabama. A glamorous and witty couple, they lived a legendarily extravagant life in New York City that he unsuccessfully attempted to support with his writing. Knowing they could live more cheaply in Europe, they moved there in 1924; he became friendly with Ernest Hemingway and other expatriates and wrote The Great Gatsby, a critical but not financial success, and a volume of stories, All the Sad Young Men. The continuing social round deteriorated into debts, alcoholism, and, in 1930, the first of Zelda Fitzgerald's mental breakdowns. They returned to the U.S.A. that year, and the commercial failure of Tender is the Night led to his own breakdown, described in essays later collected in The Crack-Up. He wrote screenplays in Hollywood and with Zelda now confined to a mental hospital in North Carolina, he became involved with the columnist Sheila Graham. He died in her apartment of a heart attack, leaving an unfinished novel, The Tycoon.