Ernest Hemingway's 3 Sons, One of Whom Was a Transsexual — All about Them

Manuela Cardiga
Mar 01, 2021
08:40 A.M.
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Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Ernest Hemingway, was the father of three sons, Jack, Patrick, and Gregory Hemingway whose lives were very different from his.


Literary giant Ernest Hemingway was larger than life in every respect -- his personality, his romances, his marital dramas, and most of all, his talent. His three sons born under that titanic shadow struggled to make their own mark in the world.

The three men, Jack, Patrick, and Gregory Hemingway, were, never the less, deeply influenced by their father's adventurous interests and lifestyle, and their own lives were haunted by drama and tragedy.

Author Ernest Hemingway | Source: Getty Images



Ernest has left behind him a massive body of literary work, such iconic novels considered masterpieces as "The Sun Also Rises," "For Whom The Bell Tolls," "A Farewell to Arms," and "The Old Man and the Sea."

A man of action, a war hero during WW I, a war correspondent during the Spanish Civil War, a dedicated hunter, and fisherman, his active lifestyle and passion for action would influence the lives of his three sons.

Jack's two youngest daughters Margaux and Mariel became successful models and actresses.

Ernest Hemingway working on his book "For Whom the Bell Tolls" in Idaho, in 1939 | Source: Wikimedia Commons/Lloyd Arnold, Ernest Hemingway, marked as public domain



Ernest came to symbolize the era's hyper-masculine man, and he completed his image by falling in love passionately with remarkable women, all of whom he ended up marrying -- and three of whom he divorced.

With his first two wives, Hadley Richardson and Pauline Pfeiffer, the writer welcomed three sons, whose lives were deeply influenced by Ernest's. With Hadley, Ernest welcomed son Jack, and with Pauline, sons Patrick and Gregory.

Ernest Hemingway and Hadley Hemingway in Chamby, Switzerland, 1922 | Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Owned by John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston, ErnestHemingwayHadley1922, marked as public domain



Jack was Ernest's oldest child, born in 1923, before the writer's first two books were published and before his rise to fame and fortune. Jack served in the Army during WW II, parachuted behind enemy lines to fight with the French Resistance, and was captured by the Germans.

Jack had inherited his father's passion for fishing, and he became a dedicated conservationist in Idaho, where he settled. An avid trout fisherman, he was instrumental in helping to create several conservation measures. 

Ernest Hemingway with then-wife Elizabeth Hadley Richardson and son Jack Hemingway | Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Owned by John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston, Ernest Hadley and Bumby Hemingway, marked as public domain



While his father had married four women and fathered three sons, Jack married his first wife Byra Whittlesey in 1949, and the couple welcomed three daughters, Joan, Margaux Mariel. In 1988, Byra passed away, a victim of cancer, and a year later, he married Angela Holvey.

Jack's two youngest daughters Margaux and Mariel became successful models and actresses. Sadly, in 1996 Margaux, 42, passed away a victim of suicide. Jack would die in 2000 at the age of 77 of complications after heart surgery.

Ernest Hemingway and Pauline Pfeiffer Hemingway, in Paris 1927 | Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Ernest and Pauline Hemingway, Paris, 1927, marked as public domain



Ernest's second son and only surviving son, Patrick Hemingway, was born in Missouri in 1928 and was raised in his father's famous Key West estate. Patrick shared his father's passion for hunting and for Africa, and in the late 30s, he moved to Tanzania.

Patrick became a famous big game hunter and owned a safari company close to Mout Kilimanjaro. Patrick was to Henrietta Broyles, and they shared a daughter, Mina Hemingway. It was a visit to Patrick that inspired Ernest to write the book "The Snows of Kilimanjaro." 

Ernest Hemingway with sons Patrick (left) and Gregory (right) in Finca Vigia, Cuba in 1942 | Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Owned by John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Ernest Hemingway with sons Patrick and Gregory with kittens in Finca Vigia, Cuba, marked as public domain



Ernest's third son Gregory was a tortured man. At first glance, he was his father's son in every way: a gifted writer, a brilliant athlete, and an avid hunter. But from early in his life Gregory was tormented by his need to crossdress.

He married four women -- one of them twice -- and fathered eight children. Like his father, Gregory battled with mental health issues, and he was addicted to alcohol and to drugs. A doctor, he ended up losing his license due to his drug use.

Ernest and Gregory shooting live pigeons at the Club de Cazadores in Cuba | Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Ernest and Gregory Hemingway in Cuba c1950, marked as public domain


Gregory's sexual dysmorphia caused tension and difficulties with his father, and he was haunted by Ernest's death by suicide. Gregory wrote a book about his relationship with Ernest, "Papa: A Personal Memoir," which was a best seller.

 Although Gregory had gender reassignment surgery in 1995, he continued to present himself as male. He died of a heart attack in 2001, just hours after his coming out party, in a Miami jail after being arrested for being drunk and disorderly. He was 69 years old.

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