F. Scott Fitzgerald
The premier writer of the Jazz Age, F. Scott Fitzgerald served as both chronicler and embodiment of the times. Scott, along with wife Zelda, cut a wide swath through high society following the success of his first novel, "This Side of Paradise," followed by "The Beautiful and Damned," "The Great Gatsby" and "Tender is the Night." The couple also cut a wide swath through whatever obstacle stood between them and their next cocktail.
Fitzgerald embraced the Roaring Twenties, smoking heavily, falling into alcoholism and enjoying the night life a little too much. As a result, he steadily descended into poor physical and mental health, ultimately penning a collection of essays about his shattered state, "The Crack-up."
The writer's life was full of self-created financial stress as his lifestyle overtook his earnings. Fitzgerald's personal correspondence was in large part dedicated to hitting up his friends, editors and publishers for loans and advances.
Though he quit drinking in the final year of his life, the damage had been done. Fitzgerald suffered his first heart attack in November 1940 while buying cigarettes at a drugstore. About a month later, he was reading in the apartment of his mistress when he had a second heart attack, this one fatal. He was 44 years old.
Next: This actor made his mark as a funny big man, but his size took a toll on his health.