An American translator, poet, and literary critic, he became known for his translations of Latin and Greek texts. He translated the works of Euripides, Sophocles, Homer, and Virgil and also published several original poetry collections, including A Wreath for the Sea (1943) and In the Rose of Time (1956).
He studied at Harvard University, worked as a reporter and journalist, and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
He and his wife, Sally, compiled and edited the works of author Flannery O'Connor (once a boarder in the Fitzgeralds' Connecticut home) after O'Connor's death.
He was married three times and was the father of screenwriter Benedict Fitzgerald.
He held an Emeritus Professorship in Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard University. The position had previously belonged to Archibald MacLeish.