More than a month after she was found dead in her beach apartment, the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office confirmed today that actress model Margaux Hemingway died of a drug overdose. Coroner spokesman Scott Carrier said that investigators found "a fatal dosage of phenobarbital" in her system, a high enough concentration of the drug that they presume she committed suicide.

E! Online's Ted Casablanca reported exclusively last month that an empty vial of the sedative was found in her apartment. Phenobarbital is one drug used to control epilepsy, and Hemingway suffered from that disease. However, authorities said today that the model did not have a prescription for the sedative.

The 41-year-old model's badly decomposed body was found on July 1, only one day before the 35-year anniversary of the suicide of her grandfather, Ernest Hemingway. It was the end of an erratic career derailed by alcoholism, depression and bulimia, and one overshadowed by her younger sister, Mariel. Her body was cremated and services were held in her hometown of Ketchum, Idaho. Family members have refused to comment on the death.

A six-foot blonde with a trademark overbite, Hemingway shot to modeling superstardom in the '70s. By age 20, she had posed for the covers of Time and Vogue and landed a $1 million contract to promote Faberge's Babe perfume. Her modeling success led to a star turn in Lipstick. The 1976 film was panned by critics and flopped at the box office but launched her sister's acting career. As Mariel's fame grew, Margaux's waned, creating tension between the sisters.

Friends said that Hemingway hoped to revitalize her career following a 1990 Playboy nude spread. She was working on a psychic hotline and recently signed on to host a travel series produced by Westinghouse.

Both of Margaux Hemingway's marriages ended in divorce. She was married for less than a year to Errol Weston and for 11 years to Bernard Foucher.

Hemingway admitted nursing herself through her second divorce and a near-fatal ski accident with Stolichnaya vodka and Bordeaux. After she almost bit off her tongue during an epileptic seizure triggered by booze, Hemingway checked into the Betty Ford Center in 1988. "For a time, I was living the life of Ernest Hemingway," she said in a 1988 magazine interview. "I think alcohol drove my grandfather to suicide, but I'm still alive because I did something about it." In another interview two years later, Hemingway said she had contemplated suicide. Trace amounts of alcohol were found in her system, but the coroner said it did not contribute to her death.

Her grandfather, known for his own bouts with the bottle and depression, shot himself July 2, 1961. His brother, sister and father all killed themselves.

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share

We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies. For more information on cookies including how to manage your consent visit our Cookie Policy.