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Margaux Hemingway Found Dead in Apartment

July 2, 1996

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) _ Margaux Hemingway, whose stunning looks and famous name brought her to the peak of celebrity in the 1970s, only to see her career stall amid struggles with alcohol and eating disorders, was found dead in her seaside apartment.

The model turned actress, a granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, was 41.

The death did not appear to be a suicide and there was no sign of forced entry or foul play, police said. Friends said she had overcome her substance abuse problems years ago.

``At this point we’re not sure what happened to her,″ coroner’s spokesman Fred Corral said. An autopsy was expected tonight or Wednesday.

Hemingway, who moved into the second-floor apartment a few weeks ago, had not been seen by friends or neighbors since Saturday. A friend, concerned that Hemingway hadn’t returned her phone calls, climbed a ladder to peek through the window and saw the body on a bed.

Coroner’s officials identified the body by information from relatives, identification Hemingway had on her and a description of recent dental work, Corral said.

Blond and 6 feet tall, Hemingway was not yet 20 when she journeyed from her Idaho home to New York and almost instant fame. As a supermodel, she graced the cover of Vogue and made headlines with a $1 million contract to promote Faberge’s ``Babe″ perfume. She even made the cover of Time magazine.

``It sounds glamourous, and it was,″ she told People magazine in 1988. ``I was having a lot of fun. But I was also very naive when I came on the scene. I genuinely thought that people liked me for myself _ for my humor and good qualities. I never expected to meet so many professional leeches.″

She made her movie debut starring in the poorly received rape drama ``Lipstick″ in 1976 and appeared in several other movies, while also struggling with alcoholism and bulimia.

Hemingway’s younger sister Mariel had a smaller role in ``Lipstick,″ as Margaux’s sister. While her older sister’s career stalled, Mariel went on to considerable success in films such as Woody Allen’s ``Manhattan.″

Margaux Hemingway’s agent, David Mirisch, told the Hollywood Reporter and CNN on Monday that she had recently finished shooting ``The Wild Guide,″ a nature show for which she was the host for the Westinghouse Broadcasting Group. She had often expressed interest in wildlife welfare.

``For the past week or 10 days, she hasn’t really been the Margaux Hemingway that we all knew as far as having that `up’ personality,″ Mirisch told CNN. ``We really felt this series was going to bring her back.″

Judy Stabile, the friend who went to Hemingway’s apartment, said the actress had long overcome her much-publicized problems with alcohol and bulimia. Hemingway was treated at the Betty Ford Center in 1988, saying she suffered a seizure that she took to be ``a message to get well or I would die.″

``The thing about getting sober is that you have to live your life with rigorous honesty,″ Hemingway told the San Francisco Examiner in 1990.

``She doesn’t do that stuff. She doesn’t drink,″ Stabile said.

Alcoholism and early deaths have plagued the Hemingway clan.

For Ernest Hemingway, one of the most widely read American novelists of the 20th century, boozing and physical trauma led to depression, electroshock therapy and a final mental collapse. He shot himself to death on July 2, 1961, 35 years ago today. His brother, sister and father also killed themselves.

Margaux Hemingway was born in Portland, Ore., in 1955 to John Hadley ``Jack″ Hemingway and Byra L. ``Puck″ Hemingway. Her name, pronounced just like Margot, which is how it was originally spelled, came from one of the most famous and costly wines in the world, Chateau Margaux.

Asked about her famous grandfather last month in a Prodigy online service interview, Hemingway said, ``I remember sitting on his knee when I was a baby and him being very big and burly.″ She said she never got tired of being asked about him because ``it is such a big honor being his granddaughter.″

She left her Ketchum, Idaho, home for New York City in 1974. A year later she reached supermodel status.

Hemingway was married and divorced twice. She was married to her first husband, Errol Wetson, for less than a year. Her marriage to Bernard Foucher lasted 11 years.

A neighbor who never met Hemingway said he saw her walking on Saturday.

``She struck me as disturbed and unhappy,″ Peter Osterlund said.

But Hemingway told her online audience last month that ``I believe in rolling with the punches. You have to keep fighting. That’s what life is all about. Leading with your heart.″

And she said that after she was gone, she hoped to remembered for ``helping the animals and being a heartfelt, conscientious person.″

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