- For Frances Kroll Ring (1916–2015)
In 1992, when several Fitzgerald scholars were planning the first conference devoted to the author’s life and work, we found a half-dozen friends and colleagues of his still alive whom we were able to invite. But the person who knew him best was Frances Kroll Ring, his secretary, friend, and confidante during the last eighteen months of his life. Ring passed away on 18 June 2015. Since her appearance at that first gathering at Hofstra University on Long Island, the International F. Scott Fitzgerald Society has benefited greatly from Frances’s continued devotion to the author. She attended many of the Society’s conferences, during which she spoke warmly and eloquently about Fitzgerald.
When we traveled to Los Angeles shortly after that first meeting at Hofstra, we called Frances to see if she would welcome a visit. She was very receptive and invited us to her home for a lunch, one of several meals we shared with her over the next twenty years. Over a memorable lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel, in addition to answering our unending questions about Fitzgerald, she told us her own Hollywood stories and spoke about her friendship with Jeremy Irons, who played the author in Last Call (2002), the film based on Frances’s memoir, Against the Current: As I Remember F. Scott Fitzgerald (1985); Irons subsequently called her every time he was in Los Angeles. [End Page V]
Her passing is a great loss to her family, to the Society, and to all admirers of Fitzgerald and his work. Perhaps the most touching aspects of Frances’s remarks over the years were her deep sympathy for Fitzgerald’s personal and literary struggles and her appreciation for his kindness to her and especially to his daughter, Scottie. We would urge everyone interested in Fitzgerald, and, of course, in Frances herself, to read her wonderful memoir, certainly one of the most poignant and insightful books ever written about F. Scott Fitzgerald. [End Page VI]