However this excerpt highlights the uncertainty of that claim:
"Jay Gatsby is not a biographical figure," Bruccoli says. "Fitzgerald … created a character from a variety of sources."
However, Bruccoli says, Gerlach was one of the figures who helped shape the Gatsby composite. Gatsby's character — giving all for the love of a woman — was pure Fitzgerald. "All of Fitzgerald's heroes turn into Fitzgerald before the novel is over," Bruccoli says. But other traits — his mysterious past, his wealth — supposedly were based on Gerlach.