Web editor’s note: Barry Levine, The Enquirer’s Executive Editor/Director of News, has been an aficionado of Ernest Hemingway for more than 30 years, collecting the late author’s works and traveling around the world to key spots in his life. In this report, he tells of meeting the famous granddaughter of America’s greatest writer.
From beyond his grave in Ketchum, Idaho, there’s no doubt “Papa” Hemingway is looking down on his granddaughter Mariel Hemingway and is beaming as tall as the giant spruce trees that shade his burial site.
The beautiful 53-year-old star and mother-of-two has managed to do what others in her celebrated family have been unable – she’s wrestled their demons to the ground, shined a spotlight of awareness on them and has outlasted their curse.
Decades after filming her Academy Award-nominated role as Woody Allen’s teenage lover Tracy in “Manhattan,” Mariel returned to NYC last week to promote two memoirs she’s written in which she confronts her family’s horrors head on.
“Out Came The Sun” is penned for adults – and it should be noted that 10 percent of all Americans suffer from depression. The other, titled “Invisible Girl,” is aimed at teens.
Both books reveal the inner courage her grandfather famously wrote about and chronicle her journey of self-discovery to a, thankfully, healthy and happy life after suicide took the lives of seven of her family members, including her actress/model sister Margaux and their grandfather Ernest.
Years ago, Mariel painfully admitted she once “did consider suicide” after having “suffered from depression.” She also battled eating disorders and OCD.
Her childhood was chaotic. Both her late parents were alcoholics and had loud fights in which she often tried to play the role of peacemaker. Her father, Jack Hemingway, is the son of Ernest; her mother Bryra Louise Hemingway battled cancer and died of a drug overdose.
Her surviving sister Muffet was a heavy drug user in her teens, was schizophrenic, diagnosed with bipolar disorder and spent years in mental hospitals.
In 2013, Mariel bravely brought out a documentary called “Running From Crazy” and is now speaking out further about suicide prevention.
Says Mariel: “The reason I wrote these books is so that if Mariel Hemingway, who comes from this family that everybody (knows), if SHE talks about her story, maybe I get someone suffering somewhere in silence to find a safe space to tell their story. So that they can start to heal.”
Her publisher is Judith Regan, a former legendary ENQUIRER reporter who is a force in books and TV.
It was Judith’s invitation that brought me the opportunity to meet Mariel in person. The two engaged in an informative question-and-answer session for those gathered at the book event.
Later, I had the chance to show Mariel something from my Hemingway collection – a piece I long ago acquired and cherish greatly.
It’s a photo album that her late sister Margaux – once the world’s highest paid model — lovingly put together after journeying to Cuba in search of her roots. She titled the album, “GRANPAPA A.K.A. WATERING HOLES.”
Her trip was made in the early 1980s, more than a decade before her life was cut short at age 42, when she died from an overdose of sedatives.
Looking at the beautiful pictures of her late sister in happier, healthier times brought a tear to Mariel’s eye.
Unfortunately, she can’t turn back time. But Mariel Hemingway can now help others who have lost their way and need help.
She adds, “A lot of kids don’t know that there’s somebody out there that gets it.”