The Curious Case of Frances Kroll Ring

fitzreadingF. Scott Fitzgerald was never well-served by Hollywood. It was a love/hate relationship that he explored in seventeen acerbic short stories about a down-on-his-luck screenwriter named Pat Hobby. Then there was last year’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, a big-budget film not without charm, but with scant connection to the Fitzgerald story upon which it claimed to be based. He was better served by Frances Kroll Ring, his 22-year-old personal secretary during those final months before his death from heart failure in 1940 (at age 44, like Chekhov, which seems more and more unbelievably young, especially as I grow older) when he was working on his never-to-be-completed Hollywood-themed novel The Last Tycoon.

Frances Kroll Ring

David Ulin in the Los Angeles Times has written a wonderful profile of Ring, now 92 years old. In 1985 she published a brief self-effacing memoir of her time working for Fitzgerald, Against the Current: As I Remember F. Scott Fitzgerald. The book was made into a solid 2002 Showtime movie titled Last Call. British actor Jeremy Irons might seem an unlikely candidate to play the Minnesota-born Fitzgerald, but he’s very effective in the role. The young Frances Kroll Ring is played with appropriate doe-eyed innocence by Neve Campell.

Also of interest is an article and accompanying video documenting a recent visit by the remarkably spry amanuensis/author to a class of literature students at the University of Missouri.

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1 Response to “The Curious Case of Frances Kroll Ring”

  1. 1 The Last Tycoon | Coffee Spew Trackback on June 5, 2013 at 2:42 pm

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