Ernest Hemingway’s Final Days and the FBI

Ernest HemingwayHemingway biographer A. E. Hotchner’s article in the New York Times details the rapid decline of Ernest Hemingway during his final years. Institutionalization, self-doubt and paranoia came to a head on July 1, 1961 when the author took his own life.

Hemingway’s depression and instability has been well-documented, but what is interesting is that the FBI’s monitoring of his phones, correspondence and activities contributed to his sense of fear and paranoia.

This could be the rare case of someone who’s paranoia about “being watched” is actually due to the fact that he/she is actually being monitored. A. E. Hotchner writes:

EARLY one morning, [on July 1st], while his wife, Mary, slept upstairs, Ernest Hemingway went into the vestibule of his Ketchum, Idaho, house, selected his favorite shotgun from the rack, inserted shells into its chambers and ended his life.

There were many differing explanations at the time: that he had terminal cancer or money problems, that it was an accident, that he’d quarreled with Mary. None were true. As his friends knew, he’d been suffering from depression and paranoia for the last year of his life.

Ernest and I were friends for 14 years. I dramatized many of his stories and novels for television specials and film, and we shared adventures in France, Italy, Cuba and Spain, where, as a pretend matador with Ernest as my manager, I participated in a Ciudad Real bullfight. Ernest’s zest for life was infectious.

Read More: NY Times

8 Comments on "Ernest Hemingway’s Final Days and the FBI"

  1. DeepCough | Jul 9, 2011 at 11:35 pm |

    The government loves keeping tabs on artists, going as far back as the Red Scare, which brought us the Hollywood Blacklist. And lo, nothing has really changed since then.

  2. DeepCough | Jul 9, 2011 at 7:35 pm |

    The government loves keeping tabs on artists, going as far back as the Red Scare, which brought us the Hollywood Blacklist. And lo, nothing has really changed since then.

  3. Hunter S. Thompson and the C.I.A. !

  4. Hunter S. Thompson and the C.I.A. !

  5. Anonymous | Jul 10, 2011 at 12:31 am |

    Not sure why, but I never read any Hemingway. But if the FBI was watching him, I’ll have to check him out. lol

    Hope he’s not as tiresome as Norman Mailer…

  6. GoodDoktorBad | Jul 9, 2011 at 8:31 pm |

    Not sure why, but I never read any Hemingway. But if the FBI was watching him, I’ll have to check him out. lol

    Hope he’s not as tiresome as Norman Mailer…

  7. Blueshunter60 | Jul 10, 2011 at 1:44 pm |

    This doesn’t surprise me. Hoover was a paranoid and a monster manipulator especially considering that he was hiding his own ‘secrets’ anyway. 

  8. Blueshunter60 | Jul 10, 2011 at 9:44 am |

    This doesn’t surprise me. Hoover was a paranoid and a monster manipulator especially considering that he was hiding his own ‘secrets’ anyway. 

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