San Diego

Audrey Geisel Has Died at 97

Audrey Geisel, the widow of children's author Dr. Seuss and longtime overseer of his literary estate, has died.

Random House Children's Books announced that Geisel died Wednesday at age 97, "peacefully" at her home in La Jolla, California.

Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Geisel, died in 1991 and two years later Audrey Geisel founded Dr. Seuss Enterprises. Numerous publishing projects followed, along with the Broadway show "Seussical." She also served as executive producer for some film adaptations of his work, most recently "The Grinch," which came out last month.

Geisel donated millions to UC San Diego along with more than 12,000 items of her late husband's work, including original drawings and sketches. 

The university dedicated the Geisel Library in 1995 to honor the couple after a $20 million gift from them. There is a cafe named in honor of Mrs. Geisel inside the library.

Geisel also dedicated her time and donated funds to support local charities and organizations, like the La Jolla Playhouse, Old Globe Theatre and the San Diego Zoological Society. 

She was a Chicago native whose parents broke up when she was little and who as an adult would be in the middle of two broken marriages. She and Theodor Geisel, who was 17 years older, were both married to others when they began an affair in the 1960s. Theodor Geisel's first wife, Helen, killed herself and Audrey Geisel sent away the two daughters she had with her first husband after she and the author married in 1968.

"They wouldn't have been happy with Ted, and Ted wouldn't have been happy with them. He's the man who said of children, 'You have 'em and I'll entertain 'em,"' she told The New York Times in 2000.

"Ted's a hard man to break down, but this is who he was. He lived his whole life without children and he was very happy without children. I've never been very maternal. There were too many other things I wanted to do. My life with him was what I wanted my life to be."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us