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Scottie Fitzgerald Smith, Writer's Daughter, Dies

June 19, 1986|Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Scottie Fitzgerald Smith, only child of author F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda, died Wednesday at her home here after a lengthy illness. Mrs. Smith, who was 64, had been suffering from a recurrence of cancer.

Mrs. Smith, a child when her father earned literary renown in the 1920s and her parents symbolized the dashing life style of the Jazz Age, was a writer whose career included an early stint with the New Yorker.

She was born in 1921 in St. Paul, Minn., her father's home state, traveled widely and settled 13 years ago in Montgomery, hometown of her mother, Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, whose father was a member of the Alabama Supreme Court.

Fitzgerald, whose novels include one of America's classics, "The Great Gatsby," died in Hollywood in 1940. Zelda Fitzgerald, a painter and writer who published a book, "Save Me the Waltz," died in a sanitarium fire in North Carolina in 1948.

Mrs. Smith's career included writing jobs with the Northern Virginia Sun and the Washington Post. An active Democrat, she worked during the mid-1950s as a writer for the Democratic National Committee's digest.

In 1974 she co-wrote "The Romantic Egoists" with Matthew Bruccoli. The book was a journal of clippings and photographs detailing the lives of her parents.

She said in a recent interview that being the daughter of one of America's most celebrated authors opened many doors for her but also had its drawbacks.

"I've always said jokingly that it was the best paid part-time job in the world," she said. "It has been hard work sometimes because it encompassed the whole period when my father got extremely popular."

Despite the legendary stories of her parent's partying life style, she said, "they were always very circumspect around me. I was very unaware of all this drinking that was going on. . . . I was very well taken care of and I was never neglected.

"I don't consider I had a very difficult childhood at all. In fact, I consider it a rather wonderful childhood," she said.

Mrs. Smith was married twice. She and C. Grove Smith, her second husband, were divorced in 1980. Survivors include three children from her marriage to Samuel J. Lanahan, which ended in divorce in 1967, and five grandchildren.

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