Audrey Geisel, the widow of children's author Dr. Seuss and longtime overseer of his prolific and lucrative literary estate, has died at age 97. She died "peacefully" at her home in La Jolla, California. Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Geisel, died in 1991, and Audrey Geisel founded Dr. Seuss Enterprises two years later. Over the past quarter century, "Dr. Seuss" has proved a highly profitable multimedia brand, from books and films to theme park rides and the Broadway show Seussical. She was a Chicago native and former nursing student at Indiana University 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, per the AP.
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,'" Geisel, who later reconciled with her daughters, 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." (Someone once stole a Lorax statue from her estate.)