Elaine Steinbeck, the former actress who married John Steinbeck and became a self-described ambassador of the Nobel laureate’s legacy, has died. She was 88.
She died on Sunday at New York Hospital following a long illness, said Samuel Pinkus, a literary agent for McIntosh and Otis, which represents John Steinbeck’s work.
She lived in the New York apartment she shared with her husband, but spent summers in Sag Harbor, in the heart of Long Island’s Hamptons.
In 1998, the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor dedicated its stage in her honour. There to honour her were “chums” Edward Albee, Terrence McNally, E.L. Doctorow, Bruce Springsteen and Julie Andrews.
John Steinbeck, author of such classics as The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men, died in 1968, six years after he won the Nobel prize.
Over the past 35 years, Elaine Steinbeck was her husband’s greatest supporter, editing volumes of his work, proudly showing off his Nobel medal to visiting reporters and speaking tirelessly on his behalf.
“I travel all over the world, literally all over the world, in the name of John Steinbeck,” she once told The Associated Press.