The Affairs of F. Scott Fitzgerald
Zelda was not the only woman in Scott's life. Here I examine some of the more well-known relationships.
Ginevra King (1898-1980)
Ginevra was Scott's original golden girl, the model for Isabelle in "This Side of Paradise" and Daisy Buchanan in "The Great Gatsby." She was from a rich family, and broke it off with Scott in 1917 because he was poor and would not be able to support her when they got married. Read a letter from Ginevra to Scott dated 1915. I don't believe Scott ever forgot her- after all, were you able to forget your first love? They met again years later in 1937 soon after she got divorced, but their reunion was not very successful. Scott called her for several days and then quit. When Scott died in 1940, Scottie sent Ginevra a typed and bound collection of the letters she'd written to them during their courtship, which Ginevra kept until her death in 1980. The letters are now part of the Fitzgerald collection in the Princeton Library. There is not much information about Ginevra King outside of her relationship with Scott, except if you click here and here I have linked to a couple of articles from Princeton's website.
Lois Moran (1909-1990)
Lois was 17 when she and Scott first met- she was a silent film actress who was very beautiful yet didn't have a very succcessful career. After she got married and had children, she made only a few film and TV appearances. Her affair with Scott hit a sore spot with Zelda, who was paranoid about them for years and threw her platinum and diamond wristwatch (an engagement present from Scott and therefore a prized possession) out of a train window.
Isadora Duncan (1878-1927)
Even though Scott did not have an affair with the famed ballerina, there was an incident in 1927 which marked a turning point in Zelda's deteriorating mental health. The Fitzgeralds were dining out with Gerald and Sara Murphy at an inn where Duncan was also dining. As quoted from Gerald Murphy, who was a witness to this event: "Scott didn't know who she was, so I told him. He immediately went to her table and sat at her feet. She ran her fingers through his hair and called him her centurion. But she was an old lady by this time. Her hair was red, no purple really- the color of her dress- and she was quite heavy." Apparently Duncan was in the process of writing her memoirs and she was asking Scott for advice; he was interested so she gave him her hotel and room number. Zelda had been watching them and suddenly got up from the table and threw herself down a nearby flight of stairs. Her knees were bleeding, but not seriously hurt and returned with no explanation as to why she did it. Murphy: "I was sure she was dead. We were all stunned and motionless. I don't remember what Scott did. The first thing I remember thinking was that it had not been ugly. I said that to myself over and over again. I've never been able to forget it." Within three years Zelda had her first nervous breakdown.
Sheilah Graham (1904-1988)
Sheilah Graham was a newspaper columnist when she met Scott in the late 1930s. Scott was in Hollywood trying to make a living as a screenwriter, which soon failed. They saw each other for years, even though Zelda was institutionalized but still very much married to him. Sheilah was the model for Kathleen in "The Last Tycoon," and resembled a younger Zelda. Their relationship was stormy and even violent sometimes, with drunken quarrels and humilations galore. She was with him when Scott died in her apartment in December 24th, 1940. Some years later, Sheilah wrote about their relationship in a novel entitled "Beloved Infidel" which later became a movie starring Gregory Peck as Scott(?!) and Deborah Kerr as Sheilah.