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Arts and Entertainment

On This Day in 1940 F. Scott Fitzgerald Dropped Dead in a West Hollywood Apartment

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F. Scott Fitzgerald
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Los Angeles Morgue Files goes back to the time of Fitzgerald's death, explaining how the heavy drinker had a previous diagnosis of tuberculosis, and a heart attack earlier in 1940, while in Schwab's Drugstore. He'd been ordered to take it easy, and had been staying a block away from his own Laurel Avenue apartment with Sheilah Graham, since at his place he had two flights of stairs to walk up and doctors told him not to exert himself. Fitzgerald had quit drinking in January of 1940.

The night of December 20, Fitzgerald suffered a "dizzy spell" after attending a movie premiere. The next day found Fitzgerald and Graham relaxing in her Hayworth Avenue apartment. Here's what happened, as explained by Wikipedia:

The following day, as Scott ate a candy bar and made notes in his newly arrived Princeton Alumni Weekly, Ms. Graham saw him jump from his armchair, grab the mantelpiece, gasp, and fall to the floor. She ran to the manager of the building, Harry Culver, founder of Culver City. Upon entering the apartment and assisting Scott, he stated, "I'm afraid he's dead." Fitzgerald died of a massive heart attack. His body was removed to the Pierce Brothers Mortuary.

Fitzgerald had completed four novels and other short pieces prior to his death. A fifth novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon, was incomplete when he died, but was edited and published posthumously.