Miami, Oct. 3 (Reuters): Eight grandchildren of Ernest Hemingway have settled a bitter feud with the widow of the writer’s transsexual son Gregory over his $7-million estate, which included a portion of Hemingway’s literary rights, one of the children said yesterday.
The death of Gregory Hemingway two years ago, of cardiovascular disease on the floor of a cell in the women’s annex of the Dade County Jail, put a Miami judge on the verge of a potentially precedent-setting decision on whether the author’s troubled son was a man or a woman.
Details of the settlement were confidential, said Lorian Hemingway, one of the eight children and a successful author.
“It has been settled,” she said by telephone from her home in Washington state. “We are definitely happy to have it settled.”
In life, the youngest son of the Old Man and the Sea author battled alcoholism, drug abuse, manic depression and a cross-dressing fetish that ultimately led to a sex-change operation and a new name, Gloria.
Gregory Hemingway was arrested on September 26, 2001, in the exclusive Miami island town of Key Biscayne, naked after stripping off his dress, thong and high heels. He died in his cell four days later and an autopsy found he had surgically-created women’s genitalia.
Two wills were filed for probate. Gregory’s eight children, Patrick, Edward, Sean, Brendan, Vanessa, Maria, John and Lorian, challenged the estate distribution, which would have given most of the assets to Gregory’s widow, Ida.
If their father was a woman, the children argued, he could not have been legally married to Ida, who Gregory divorced in 1995 and remarried in Washington state in 1997, after the sex change. Florida does not recognise same-sex marriages.
In a hearing in August, Miami-Dade County probate judge Arthur Rothenberg indicated that in order to resolve the probate case, he would have to decide whether Gregory Hemingway was a man or a woman, a ruling that could have set a precedent in Florida law.
Gregory Hemingway, a one-time physician and author, was born in 1931 to Ernest and his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer.
His estate, valued at about $7.5 million, included 33 per cent of Ernest Hemingway’s literary trusts and copyrights to his work and image, which according to court documents appear to produce millions of dollars annually. Ernest Hemingway killed himself in 1961.
“The grandchildren are concerned with the ownership of those literary rights,” Gregory’s son, Patrick Hemingway, said in a court affidavit filed before the settlement.
A hearing was scheduled in Miami-Dade probate court on October 8 for attorneys to present the settlement to the judge.