Audrey Geisel, who was married to Theodor Geisel aka “Dr. Seuss” from 1968 to 1991, passed away on Wednesday, December 19, Variety is reporting.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Audrey Geisel,” said ICM Partners, who represents Dr. Seuss Enterprises. “Audrey lived a life of extraordinary philanthropy and was the artistic and entrepreneurial force behind Dr Seuss Enterprises. Her creativity and devotion to her husband’s work are indelibly linked with his legacy. “
Geisel was 97-years-old. She was born as Audrey Stone on August 14, 1921, and spent time living with her mother, family friends, and in foster care. She eventually ended up marrying a cardiologist named E. Grey Dimond, and the two moved to La Jolla, California. That was where Geisel first met Dr. Seuss and his first wife, who ended up taking her own life in 1967. Geisel’s marriage to Dimond also came to an end, and she married Dr. Seuss in 1968.
Geisel was reportedly the one who motivated Dr. Seuss to write about important issues, such as addressing environmental causes in The Lorax and speaking out against nuclear weapons and war in The Butter Battle Book. Dr. Seuss died at the age of 87, and Geisel ended up forming Seuss Enterprises to license the use of his characters in various projects. She went on to executive produce many animated film adaptations of Dr. Seuss’ stories, such as Horton Hears a Who! in 2008 and The Lorax in 2010. Most recently, she served as executive producer for the animated film adaptation of The Grinch, which came out this November.
According to Deadline, Geisel took her role as producer very seriously, and was always offering up her ideas. For example, Horton Hears a Who! saw a redesign after Geisel remarked that Horton’s teeth were too big and the kangaroo’s pouch hung too low. In addition to her work on the films, Geisel was also involved with other publishing projects and the Broadway show Seussical.
After Dr. Seuss passed, Geisel decided to donate over 4,000 items of his to the library at UC San Diego. These items included original drawings and manuscripts, college notebooks, and letters among other things. In 1995, Geisel ended up donating $20 million to form the Geisel Library, which is where his items now reside. In addition, she has reportedly made donations to the San Diego Zoo.
Geisel also helped Dr. Seuss complete a story after his death, as she discovered a manuscript for another book he was working on. In 2015, What Pet Should I Get? was published, despite Dr. Seuss having passed away in 1991.
“I totally, wonderfully approve of anything that comes to light at this time of Ted’s work,” Geisel said in 2011.