In a Friday press release, Random House Children's Books announced that Dr. Seuss' widow Audrey Geisel died on Wednesday at the age of 97 in her La Jolla, California home. The Hollywood Reporter notes that "Geisel recently served as an executive producer on" the new animated film version of The Grinch, which hit theaters and IMAX last month.
Although Seuss was already a respected children's author when he married Geisel, she reportedly had a lasting impact on his work. According to The San Diego Tribune, Geisel "is sometimes credited with moving his work more in the direction of social issues through books such as The Lorax, which has environmental themes, and the The Butter Battle Book, an anti-war story."
Audrey Geisel was born Audrey Stone on Aug. 14, 1921 in Chicago. She married cardiologist E. Grey Dimond in Boston, and the couple later moved to La Jolla, with their two daughters in tow. In California, the Dimonds met Dr. Seuss — whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel — and his wife, Helen, who were both lauded children's authors in the 1960s.
Seuss and Geisel, who was nearly 20 years younger than the author, embarked on an affair. Seuss' first marriage met a particularly tragic end when Helen, his wife since 1927, took her own life in 1967. He then married Giesel in 1968.
Geisel's daughters, then aged 9 and 14, were sent away after her marriage to Seuss. She told The New York Times in a 2000 interview that "They wouldn't have been happy with Ted, and Ted wouldn't have been happy with them." She went on to observe, of her second husband and their marriage, that:
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.
Both of Geisel's daughters, Leagrey Dimond and Lark Grey Dimond-Cates, have been involved with their stepfather's legacy in recent years, particularly with The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Seuss and Geisel remained married until Seuss died from oral cancer in 1991 at the age of 87. The Associated Press reports that Geisel "founded Dr. Seuss Enterprises" two years after the author's death, which led to Broadway's Seussical, among other adaptations. According to its website, "The primary focus of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. is to protect the integrity of the Dr. Seuss books while expanding beyond books into ancillary areas."
Audrey Geisel died at her home in La Jolla, California on Dec. 19, 2018. She was 97 years old. Geisel is survived by her daughters, Leagrey Dimond and Lark Grey Dimond-Cates.