Audrey Geisel (maiden name Audrey Grace Florine Stone), best known as the widow of children’s author Dr. Seuss (Theodor “Ted” Geisel), was born on 14th August 1921 in Chicago, Illinois, to parents Norman Alfred Stone and Ruth (Benson) Stone.
Her father, Alfred, was a song and dance man, who left the family early, and subsequently, her mother, Ruth, moved to New York and raised her daughter Audrey by herself somewhere around the Queens area.
When Audrey was 5, her mother opted to stay in the dormitory of a nurse to reduce expenses and sent her child to stay for five years with a friend in New Rochelle, New York.
Met First Husband E. Grey Dimond and Eventually Married Him; Shared Two Daughters
Audrey Geisel shared two daughters with her first husband E. Grey Dimond.
Source: USA Today
When Audrey was 21, she joined the Indiana University nursing course, where she bumped into E. Grey Dimond, a pre-med student she would eventually get married to.
Dimond later became the Head of Cardiology at the University of Kansas. The couple then welcomed two daughters, Lark Grey Dimond-Cates and Leagrey Dimond, before deciding to shift to San Diego’s La Jolla neighborhood in 1960.
Beginning of Love Story with Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss is accused of cheating on his dying wife with his second spouse Audrey Geisel.
After moving to San Diego in 1960, the couple became friends with Dr. Seuss and his first wife, Helen Palmer. Audrey was 17 years younger than Mr. Geisel, but that did not stop the duo from falling in love.
Later, Helen Palmer, who suffered from several diseases, died of a drug overdose in October 1967 with a barbiturate poisoning. In the suicide note, she wrote in part, “My going will leave quite a rumor, but you can say I was overworked and overwrought.”
Audrey Divorces Her Husband to Marry Dr. Seuss
Audrey Geisel married Dr. Seuss after the author’s first wife committed sucide.
Following Helen’s suicide and despite lots of accusations on Dr. Seuss‘s part for cheating on his dying wife, Audrey Dimond left her husband to marry Mr. Geisel. The couple tied the knot in 1968; at the time, she had sent her daughters aged 9 and 14 away to study.
Speaking to The Times in 2000, Audrey said: “They wouldn’t have been happy with Ted, and Ted wouldn’t have been happy with them.” Apparently, Theodor was scared of the unpredictable nature of kids.
Audrey believed the author lived his entire life without children, and he was pretty joyful without kids. She admitted she had never been maternal in nature, and there was too much stuff she wanted to achieve. “My life with him was what I wanted my life to be.”
Apology to Her Daughters After Dr. Seuss’s Death
Audrey Geisel apologized to her daughters for failing to be an ideal mother.
Source: Mass Live
Theodor Geisel took his final breath at his La Jolla home in California on 24th September 1991 at the age of 87 due to oral cancer.
After Dr. Seuss died, Audrey Geisel apologized to her daughters for failing to become a good mother, and the family of three got closer than they had ever been.
Overseer of Dr. Seuss’s Literary State and Guardian of His Legacy
Prior to the death of the famous children’s author, Theodor Geisel, in 1991, he said to his wife, she was going to be “the one who would have to live with all the critters and move them on.”
Geisel, to her immense credit, managed to shepherd her deceased husband’s legendary menagerie, taking the likes of The Cat in the Hat, The Grinch, Horton Hears a Who!, and The Lorax into the 21st century, where it continues to entertain the new generation of kids.
Watch: Audrey Geisel attends library dedication at UCSD in 1995
Two years after Dr. Seuss‘s death, Audrey founded Seuss Enterprises to permit the usage of the characters. Later, she served as the executive producer of several animated adaptations of her husband’s most famous children’s books, most notably Horton Hears a Who! (2008) and The Lorax (2012).
Geisel is often credited with influencing her husband to tackle social issues in his projects. The ones that stand out include The Lorax (1971) that deals with the environment. Likewise, The Butter Battle Book (1989) concerns with war and nuclear weapons.
Check Out: Long-time friend pays tribute to Audrey Geisel
Geisel donated more than 4,000 of Dr. Seuss‘s stuff to the UC San Diego Library, including authentic sketches and manuscripts, college papers, and documents. The collection is stored in the Geisel Library that came from Audrey Geisel’s $20 million contributions in 1995.
Dr. Seuss‘s widow also came across the author’s unpublished documents in drawers and closets, giving birth to What Pet Should I Get in 2015.
Back in 2011, Geisel said, “I totally, wonderfully approve of anything that comes to light at this time of Ted’s work.”
Audrey Geisel Died at the age of 97 in 2018
Audrey Geisel passed away at the age of 97 at her home in San Diego on 19th December 2018. Her death was announced by Dr. Seuss‘s publisher Random House Children’s Book. Her survivors include her daughters, Lark Grey Dimond-Cates and Leagrey Dimond.
Following her mother’s death, Leagrey Dimond wrote in The San Diego Union-Tribune: “She never looked back, only forward, and she had a great spirit for life. She sailed forth with that distinctive walk: head up, shoulders back, jaunty, as if she had just twirled her baton.”