Facts about Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss died at 87 years old
Born: March 2, 1904
Best known as: Author of The Cat In the Hat


Dr. Seuss Biography

Name at birth: Theodor Seuss Geisel

Dr. Seuss wrote and illustrated nearly 50 books of quirky children’s verse during his lifetime, becoming one of the 20th century’s most famous English-language authors for children. His books were famous for their funny rhymes and whimsical characters; among Dr. Suess’s most famous titles are The Cat in the Hat (1957), Green Eggs and Ham (1960), Horton Hears a Who (1954) and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (1960).

Born Theodore Seuss Geisel — Seuss was his mother’s maiden name — he began using pseudonyms for his drawings while a student at Dartmouth University. He graduated in 1925, and settled on the name “Dr. Seuss” a few years later. He spent a decade doing drawings for advertising and various publications until the arrival of his first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, in 1937.

From there he went on to write many more books featuring fantastical creatures and bewildered humans, nearly all in his distinctive sing-song rhymes. Starting with The Cat In the Hat in 1957, many of his books were published under the imprint of Beginner Books, which he co-founded with Phyllis Cerf and his wife, Helen. (Beginner Books was acquired by Random House in 1960.) He wrote some books, illustrated by others, under the pseudonyms of Theo LeSieg and Rosetta Stone.

Dr. Seuss’s 1957 story How the Grinch Stole Christmas may now be his most famous book: It was made into 1966 animated TV special (directed by Chuck Jones) and a 2000 feature film starring Jim Carrey as the Grinch. Dr. Seuss was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1984 “for his special contribution over nearly half a century to the education and enjoyment of America’s children and their parents.”

Extra credit

Theodore Geisel died after an illness of several months, The New York Times noted in its obituary: “The exact cause of death was unclear, said Jerry Harrison, who oversees children’s books for Random House, Mr. Geisel’s longtime publishers. Mr. Harrison said the author had been suffering from an infection of his jawbone that had become acute in recent months”… He won an Academy Award for writing the best documentary short subject of 1945, Your Job in Germany (also known as Hitler Lives)… Jim Carrey also voiced Horton the Elephant in a 2008 feature film of Horton Hears a Who… Actor Mike Myers played the title role in a 2003 feature film of The Cat in the Hat… According to Random House, his longtime publisher, “If you want to pronounce the name the way his family did, say Zoice, not Soose. Seuss is a Bavarian name, and was his mother’s maiden name: Henrietta Seuss’s parents emigrated from Bavaria (part of modern-day Germany) in the nineteenth century.”


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