March 2, 2017 marks the 113th anniversary of Dr. Seuss’ birth. He was born Theodor Seuss Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts on March 2, 1904 and died in La Jolla, California at age 87 on September 24, 1991. Audrey Stone Dimond, his second wife, carries on his legacy through donations and helping to publish posthumous works.
Geisel was first married to Helen Palmer Geisel from 1927 until her death in 1967. A year later, he married Audrey. She is now 94 years old and has a daughter, Lark Grey Dimond-Cates, from a previous relationship. Geisel himself did not have any children.
Here’s a look at Audrey Geisel.
1. The Geisel Estate Has an Estimated Net Worth of $75 Million
Although Geisel died over 25 years ago, he remains a household name thanks to classic books like Cat in the Hat, The Lorax and Green Eggs and Ham, to name just a few. As a result, his estate has an estimated net worth of $75 million, Celebrity Net Worth reports.
After Geisel’s death, Audrey assumed all licensing matters for Dr. Seuss characters and stories. She was protective of his work for some time as the CEO of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, but she became more open to greenlighting project like Ron Howard’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas movie and the Seussical Broadway musical.
In a 2004 interview with San Diego Magazine, Audrey refused to reveal the dollar value of the Seuss estate. When asked, she replied, “Do you hear anything?” When the interviewer asked if she would give him a loan, she added, “That would be more likely than me telling you the bottom line on Seuss.”
2. Audrey Vowed Never to Allow Another Live-Action Seuss Movie After Seeing Mike Myers in ‘Cat in the Hat’
In a 2004 interview with the Associated Press, Audrey said that she didn’t like Mike Myers’ performance in The Cat in the Hat, agreeing with many critics that the movie was not good. She claimed that Universal Studios insisted Myers take the role.
Since then, Audrey vowed never to allow Hollywood to make another live-action version of her husband’s work. But she did give approval for animated projects, including 20th Century Fox’s acclaimed Horton Hears a Who! film.
Audrey is credited as a producer on Horton, The Lorax and Unviersal’s upcoming animated How The Grinch Stole Christmas with Benedict Cumberbatch.
Audrey also earned an Emmy nomination in 1995 as a producer on Daisy-Head Mayzie. The same special won a CableACE Award.
As for Seuss himself, he won an Emmy in 1978 for Halloween is Grinch Night and 1982’s The Grinch Grinches The Cat In The Hat. He also won a Grammy Award in 1968 for the How The Grinch Stole Christmas! soundtrack. In 2004, he posthumously received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
3. Geisel & Audrey Fell In Love While Married to Other People
Geisel’s life was not without scandal. As The Associated Press notes, he started a romantic relationship with Audrey while they were still married to other people. To make matters worse, Geisel’s first wife, Helen, was often ill. In October 1967, Helen committed suicide with an overdose of pills.
“(Helen) said that people would understand in time, and, of course, they did,” Audrey told the Associated Press in 2004. Audrey and Geisel married a year later. At the time, she was 20 years younger.
“The feeling was that at his age you grab for the gusto. You don’t wait,” Audrey said in a 1986 interview with the Los Angeles Times. “You don’t think you have that much time. Now we’ve had 17 glorious years.”
Geisel never had children with either Helen or Audrey. “He was afraid of children to a degree,” she told the AP. She said that her husband, who wrote some of the most beloved children’s books in the world, was always concerned about their unpredictability.
“No, he couldn’t just sit down on the floor and play with children. It was none of that. He just had to do what he had to do, and they loved him. And he loved them for loving what he did,” Audrey recalled in the AP interview.
4. In 2015, Audrey Donated $3 Million to UC San Diego’s Library
In recent years, Audrey has focused on philanthropy. In 2015, NBC San Diego reported that she donated $3 million to renovate the University of California, San Diego’s Giesel Library, named after her husband. The library was built in 1970 and had become dated. The gift was used to update the library, redesign the lobby and add new technology for research. A new cafe will also be added.
“This will ensure that Geisel Library, a campus and architectural landmark, continues to provide the outstanding services and spaces needed to support today’s students and scholars, as well as members of the local community,” Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla said in 2015.
The library was named after the Geisels in 1995, when Audrey made a $20 million donation.
Audrey still lives in San Diego. In 2012, someone stole her statue of The Lorax, one of her husband’s most famous creations. Her daughter, Lark Grey Dimond-Cate, cast two of the sculptures. The other one is at the Dr. Seuss National Memorial in Springfield, Massachusetts. In August 2013, the statue was finally returned.
5. Audrey Says She Was a ‘Sounding Board’ for her Husband & a Colorist
In a 2004 interview with Reading Rockets, Audrey said that her husband used her as a “sounding board” whenever he came up with ideas. She also was a colorist for his books later in his career. She explained:
Well, I was a sounding board, and I think a very intuitive, important sounding board. And I also became the colorist as we went further and further into color charts – that sort of thing. And I was a confidant, of course. And I was the very loving caregiver. Keep the systems going. Maintenance.
Elsewhere in the interview, she explained that when they first met, she wasn’t aware of who Dr. Seuss was. She thought he was a real doctor! As she explained to Reading Rockets:
I wasn’t aware that there was such a thing as a Dr. Seuss. I taught nursing at IU [Indiana University], and doctors were a very understood name and title. So, when I was being ushered down this line of about a dozen M.D. doctors and I came to Ted and they said, “And this is our very own dear Dr. Seuss,” I immediately thought interns and medicine – just automatically. It was such a setup. And I was being facetious, and I said, “Well, what is your specialty? The right or the left nostril?” And he just looked at me, didn’t say anything, and I was ushered along to the next person.
In her 1986 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Audrey said that Geisel never lost the “kid” inside himself. “He maintains something terribly worthwhile that most other people no longer have after maturity,” she said at the time. “After the children’s hour, the crazy little kid grows up, and he’s a crazy grown-up. (Ted’s) mind just keeps flipping out… getting kind of crazier all the time.”