FACT CHECK: Did F Scott Fitzgerald Say, ‘It’s Never Too Late To Be Whoever You Want To Be’?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Editor

An image shared on Facebook claims that American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald once stated, “It’s never too late to be whoever you want to be.”

"For what it's worth: it's never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you're proud of, and if you find you're not, I hope you have the strength to start over."– F. Scott Fitzgerald

Posted by Reason with Logic on Tuesday, July 9, 2019

“I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over,” the quote continues.

Verdict: False

There is no evidence that Fitzgerald ever said or wrote this quote. It appears to have originated with the 2008 movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” a film based on Fitzgerald’s short story of the same name.

Fact Check:

Fitzgerald, one of the most influential American writers of the 20th century, is best known for his portrayals of the Jazz Age in America, having written acclaimed books like “The Great Gatsby.”

However, nowhere in this book, or any of his other writings, did The Daily Caller News Foundation find the quote attributed to him in the Facebook post.

Several Fitzgerald scholars, including Kirk Curnutt, David S. Brown and Thomas Birch, said in emails to TheDCNF that they did not recognize the quotation. Brown, author of “Paradise Lost: A Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald,” believes the quote originated with the 2008 movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” a film loosely based on Fitzgerald’s short story of the same name.

At one point in the movie, actor Brad Pitt, playing the title character, goes into a short monologue:

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. And if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”

The quote featured in the Facebook post roughly combines the beginning and end of this monologue, which appears to be a creation of the film’s screenwriter, Eric Roth, as it is not found in Fitzgerald’s short story.

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Editor
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