20 facts about Ernest Hemingway
1 Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Illinois – a suburb of Chicago that has also been home to Edgar Rice Burroughs.
2 Hemingway met J.D. Salinger during World War II. Salinger was fighting with the 12th Infantry Regiment.
3 Hemingway’s memoir A Moveable Feast, about his life in Paris in the 1920s, was not published until 1964.
4 Hemingway’s son, Patrick, worked as a big-game hunter and ran a safari business in Tanzania.
5 Hemingway only wrote one play called The Fifth Column and it is set during the Spanish Civil War.
6 Hemingway was awarded a Bronze Star for his bravery under-fire in World War II when he was a war correspondent.
7 Hemingway left trunks of material in the Paris Ritz in 1928 and did not recover them until 1957.
8 The FBI maintained an open file on Hemingway from World War II onwards.
9 Hemingway’s sister and brother, and also his father committed suicide as well.
10 Ernest Hemingway and his fourth wife Mary are buried in Ketchum’s town cemetery in Idaho.
11 As a teenager, Hemingway volunteered for war work and was wounded on the Italian front in 1918, (World War 1). This was the basis for his first major book A Farewell to Arms (1929). He enlisted in the Red Cross medical service, driving an ambulance on the Italian front. He was badly wounded in the knee at Fossalta di Piave; yet, still under heavy mortar fire, he carried a wounded man on his back a considerable distance to the aid station. After having over 200 shell fragments removed from his legs and body, Hemingway next enlisted in the Italian infantry, served on the Austrian front until the armistice, and was decorated for bravery by the Italian government12 As a boy, Hemmingway spent the summers with his family in the woods of northern Michigan, where he often accompanied his doctor father on house calls. His father commited suicide several years later which left young Hemmingway with a deep emotional scar.
13 His short novel The Old Man and the Sea (1952) won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953, and Hemingway was given the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.
14 Hemmingway suffered from alcholism and depression. He was receiving treatment in Ketchum, Idaho for high blood pressure and liver problems — and also electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) for depression and continued paranoia. He attempted suicide in the spring of 1961 and received ECT treatments again. He committed suicide (shot himself) on July 2, 1961.
15 His granddaughter Margaux Hemmingway, took an overdose of phenobarbital on July 1, 1996. It was one day before the anniversary of her grandfather's own suicide, Hemingway was found dead in her studio apartment in Santa Monica, California at age 41..
16 For breakfast he would guzzle—this is not a joke—absinthe, whiskey, vodka, wine, gin, tequila, and champagne. (And you thought you were a degenerate for waking ‘n’ baking.) In the evenings he would guzzle… well, pretty much the same. And the next morning, he was feeling wonderful again, because he never awoke with a hangover. Lynn quotes a Cuban drinking buddy who revealed that Hemingway’s “capacity for recuperation was incredible. He would be drinking quite heavily… The next day he was just as well, just as strong, just as normal as he could be…” And just as blitzed.
17 According to biographer Kenneth Lynn, he would regularly drink “two or three bottles of liquor a day, as well as wine with meals.” Paris Review editor George Plimpton said “you could see the bulge of [his liver] stand out from his body like a long fat leech.
18 As an adult Hemingway once killed four hundred rabbits in a day, putting Elmer Fudd to shame. On a single boating trip Papa hooked nearly two thousand pounds of fish, including “the largest caught on rod and reel in the Atlantic.” This meant nothing to him, though, because “I fish for fun, not for records.” (Exactly what a man says when he’s fishing solely for records.)
19 Not biologically, of course, but his unhinged momma dressed him in pink gowns with flowered lace bonnets, forced him to grow his hair as long as his sister’s—at nearly four years old, Hemingway wasn’t sure that people knew he was a boy—and encouraged him to play with teacups, sewing kits, and dolls. (This might, just might, have something to do with his lifelong quest to prove his manhood to everybody on earth.)
20 Ultimately Hemingway munched a bullet sandwich, but he nearly offed himself in vastly more spectacular fashion. According to his friend and biographer A.E. Hotchner, Papa tried to walk into an airplane propeller (like that dude in the first Indiana Jones movie), and then—once airborne—tried to jump out without a parachute. Other passengers restrained him, but this would’ve been an incredibly graceful exit from thirty thousand feet in the sky.