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Ernest Hemingway Died 60 Years Ago – Meet His 3 Sons, One of Whom Was Transsexual

Monica Otayza
Jul 02, 2021
04:50 P.M.
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Nobel Prize Winner in Literature, Ernest Hemingway, was a father to three sons, Jack, Patrick, and Gregory Hemingway. Now, on the 60th anniversary of his death, let's take a look back at their lives and how different they were from their famous father's own life.


Literary giant Ernest Hemingway was larger than life in every aspect – his personality, his romances, his marital dramas, and most of all, his talent. This is why even 60 years after his death, his influence remains strong worldwide, and he remains a well-known novelist.

Meanwhile, 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, nevertheless, deeply influenced by their father's adventurous interests and lifestyle. Their own lives were haunted by drama and tragedy.

Ernest Hemingway and Pauline Pfeiffer Hemingway, in Paris 1927 | Source: Wikimedia Commons



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, war hero during World War I, war correspondent during the Spanish Civil War, 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, would go on to become successful models and actresses.

Ernest Hemingway with sons Patrick (left) and Gregory (right) in Finca Vigia, Cuba in 1942 | Source: Wikimedia Commons Images, Public Domain



Known as the "literary he-man," Ernest has taken quite a few risks in his life and had multiple brushes with death. During World War I, he was wounded in a burst of shellfire. At the time, he described the experience as life slipping from his body.

In 1935, Hemingway was on a fishing trip off Key West, where he wrangled a shark. He shot himself in the calves in that occurrence. Almost 20 years later, he survived two plane crashes in two days.

The first was a single-engine plane carrying him and his wife after the pilot tried to attempt an emergency landing to avoid a flock of ibises.



The pilot's choices were to land on a sandpit with six crocodiles or an elephant field with thick scrub. Ultimately, they ended up spending the night in the jungle surrounded by the elephants.

The next day, they boarded another small plane which also crashed and caught fire. Both he and his wife were seriously injured, but they walked out of the jungle in high spirits.



Ernest came to symbolize the era's hyper-masculine man. 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. On July 2, 1961, he ended his life with a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his home in Ketchum, Idaho.

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.



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. During World War II, Jack served in the Army, parachuted behind enemy lines to fight with the French Resistance, and was captured by the Germans.

He 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.



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, and Mariel. In 1988, Byra passed away, a cancer victim, 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 after taking her own life. Jack would die in 2000 at the age of 77 of post-heart surgery complications.



Ernest's second and only living son, Patrick Hemingway, was born in Missouri in 1928 and was raised in his father's famous Key West estate. He shared his father's passion for hunting and love 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 previously married to Henrietta Broyles, and they shared a daughter, Mina Hemingway. Patrick's visit inspired Ernest to write the book "The Snows of Kilimanjaro."



Ernest's third son, Gregory, was a troubled man. At first glance, he was his father's son in every way: a gifted writer, a brilliant athlete, and an avid hunter. However, 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 was addicted to alcohol and 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 Images, Public Domain



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

Despite being a celebrated novelist, Hemingway's life and that of his children were complicated and filled with ups and downs. There were many issues that each tried to resolve personally, which ultimately led to different outcomes in their lives.