As ‘Gatsby’ movie premieres, author rests in Md.

Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda Fitzgerald, are buried near downtown Rockville. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)
This passage from his most famous work is inscribed on the Fitzgeralds' grave. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)
St. Mary's Chapel in Rockville. F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald's final resting place. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)
St. Mary's Chapel is a historic spot in Rockville, Md. It now sits next to St. Mary's Catholic Church. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)
F. Scott Fitzgerald was distant cousins with Francis Scott Key. He and wife, Zelda, are buried at St. Mary's Chapel cemetery near Fitzgerald's ancestors. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)
The graveyard at St. Mary's in Rockville, Md., where F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald lie. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)
Fitzgerald decided he wanted to be buried next to his ancestors in Maryland after attending his father's funeral at St. Mary's. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)
Fans of the author have left behind pennies, notes, pens and a small bottle of gin on his grave in Maryland. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)

WASHINGTON- As the latest “Great Gatsby” movie premieres Friday, fans of author F. Scott Fitzgerald are finding he’s closer than they knew.

On a small plot of land next to a historic church near downtown Rockville, Md., you’ll find the author and his wife. But Fitzgerald wasn’t originally buried in the graveyard at St. Mary’s Chapel.

“He was a lapsed Catholic, so he hadn’t received his last rites. And as a result of that, even though he wanted to be buried there, the executor of his estate when he petitioned the bishop of Baltimore for permission to bury him in St. Mary’s cemetery, they denied him,” says Mary van Balgooy, executive director of Peerless Rockville, a nonprofit that works to preserve important aspects of Rockville’s history.

Fitzgerald decided he wanted to be buried near his family after attending his father’s funeral at St. Mary’s in the 1930s. His daughter, Scottie, petitioned the then-bishop of Baltimore in 1975 to have her parents moved, and the bishop agreed.

At the gravesite, which sits along Rockville Pike, fans of the author have left mementos — pennies, notes, pens and a small bottle of gin.

“He is our celebrity here. And I think it goes to the fact that, places matter to people. It’s where you can actually go and pay your respects to somebody and leave something behind,” van Balgooy says.

See the movie trailer for the new film below, and a review by WTOP Film Critic Jason Fraley here.

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