Frances Kroll Ring dies at 99; F. Scott Fitzgerald’s final secretary

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I was lucky enough to meet Frances this past January and thank her for her memoir, Against the Current, which helped me a great deal.  At 98 she was still pithy, and loved telling stories about how working with Fitzgerald was an education.

– Stewart O’Nan

Frances Kroll Ring, one of the last living links to novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, died Thursday, her family said. She was 99 and died at home in Benedict Canyon after a short illness.

Ring began working as Fitzgerald’s secretary and typist in 1939, when he was sending out short stories, working occasionally for Hollywood studios and writing the manuscript “The Love of the Last Tycoon.”

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James Ponsoldt Setting On F. Scott Fitzgerald Tale ‘West Of Sunset’ With SKE

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From Deadline:

The Spectacular Now helmer James Ponsoldt is negotiating to adapt and direct West Of Sunset, an adaptation of the Stewart O’Nan novel for Sidney Kimmel Entertainment. SKE is negotiating both to option the book and make a deal with the filmmaker, after the package was shopped this week.

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Review of West of Sunset in Historical Novel Society

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In 1937, author F. Scott Fitzgerald travels to Hollywood to salvage his writing career as a screenwriter. He’s considered a has-been – his masterpiece, The Great Gatsby, was published in 1925 – and his rampant alcoholism doesn’t help. He struggles on with screenplays only to be replaced by other writers, then he must scramble for another job to offset his huge debts. His wife, Zelda, once the darling of the Jazz Age, has had several nervous breakdowns and is confined to an asylum back east. Scott visits her dutifully, but he’s worn out by her unpredictable nature.

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Two Noteworthy Articles About Gatsby and West of Sunset

From The Columbia Chronicle:

The Great Gatsby 90th Anniversary: 90 years ago on April 10, 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald published his literary opus, “The Great Gatsby.”

 

From The Daily News of Newburyport:

F. Scott Fitzgerald returns in “West of Sunset,” a re-creation of his movie years

The American trio of Fitzgerald, Faulkner and Hemingway continues to live – notably, in fiction.

Two recent books that created fictional treatments were “The Paris Wife,” about Hemingway’s first, and “Zelda,” a fictional look at the tempestuous relationship between Fitzgerald, the brilliant if drunken wordsmith, and Zelda, his talented flapper-wife who was institutionalized in her final years.

And there was the highly amusing movie, “Midnight in Paris,” by Woody Allen.

My favorite send-up character in that film  was Hemingway: “Are a real man? Do you want to box?” (This after a dozen drinks).

Anyway, Your Scribe just finished “West of Sunset,” by Stewart O’Nan.

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