The Curse of the Hemingways
“Can someone be predisposed to be suicidal?” That is the question that plagues many Hemingway scholars, and indeed it seems that it exists in the Hemingway lineage. Ernest Hemingway’s family tree is dotted with suicides and sudden tragic deaths, too many occurrences for one to merely disregard such tragedies as coincidence. Some believe that there exists the so- called “curse of the Hemingways,” a way to explain the many deaths within the Hemingway family due to drug overdose or self-inflicted gunshot wounds. Ernest’s case is the most well known, but suicide also struck his father, sister, brother, son, and granddaughter.
The suicides among Ernest’s parents and siblings family are numerous. Clarence Hemingway, Ernest's father, killed himself in 1928. Clarence was fervently religious, providing much of Ernest’s moral education in his younger years. However, Clarence battled depression and diabetes, and in the end shot himself in the head on December 6, 1928. Ernest’s closest younger sister, Ursula, suffered from cancer and bouts of depression, and killed herself in a drug overdose on October 30, 1966. Ernest’s brother Leicester was the youngest in the family, the only other male after Clarence’s sudden death. He was a writer like Ernest, but depression and diabetes gripped him and Leicester shot himself on September 15, 1982, after finding out he needed to amputate his legs.
The rest of Ernest Hemingway’s family also has had a share of sudden deaths and suicides. Ernest’s second wife, Pauline Pffeifer Hemingway, died suddenly of abdominal pain and internal bleeding. He had lived with her for 13 years and had two children together, Gregory and Patrick. Gregory Hemingway lived a tragic, wretched life. Accused by Ernest of killing his mother by leaving for California, he fought verbally with Ernest until Ernest’s own death. Gregory never recovered from the guilt he felt for his father’s death; he suffered from bouts of depression and ultimately had a sex change operation, becoming Gloria Hemingway. He died from heart failure in a jail cell on October 1, 2001. Hemingway’s eldest granddaughter Margaux died from a drug overdose on July 1, 1996. Margaux was an actress who started her career with much hype, but it never panned out, often living in the shadow of her sister Mariel, who was much better received as an actress. Margaux suffered from depression, epilepsy, an eating disorder,...