Evelyn Einstein Died in Squalor, Despite Grandfather's Riches


Evelyn Einstein experienced poverty and homelessness and was a self-proclaimed "dumpster diver," all while the estate of her famous grandfather -- one of the most iconic figures of all time -- earned millions.

Albert Einstein's granddaughter spent the latter part of her life complaining publicly that the man she called "Grampa" had never left her -- or the other members of the family -- a dime.

On April 13, Evelyn Einstein died at the age of 70 in her home in Albany, Calif., still fighting to get a piece of his estate.

Her brainy grandfather died in 1955, leaving 75,000 papers and other items to Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

The elder Einstein's name and likeness draw annual earnings of $10 million, according to the 2010 Forbes magazine "Top Earning Dead Celebrities" list. He ranks eighth after Michael Jackson (1), Stieg Larsson (6) and Dr. Seuss (7).

All royalties go to the Israeli university for scholarships and research.

The man behind the face of Baby Einstein products, "geek chic" glasses and Nintendo brain games had a "strained" relationship with his family, according to Eileen K. Morales, curator for the current Einstein exhibit at the Princeton Historical Society in New Jersey.

Einstein lived for 22 years in Princeton while on the faculty of the Institute for Advanced Study.

Evelyn Einstein was the adopted daughter of Einstein's first son Hans Albert, who was an engineering professor at University of California, Berkeley.

Albert Einstein met his first wife, Mileva Maric, during their student days in Switzerland. "He was starting at the bottom of academia and it was a little tough on them," Morales said.

They had two sons, Hans Albert and Eduard, and a daughter who died before the age of 2, probably of scarlet fever. They divorced in 1919 while living in Berlin. Einstein then married his cousin Elsa, but they had no children.

Einstein and his second wife, plus her two daughters and his secretary Helen Dukas, immigrated to the United States in 1933. Hans Albert, who was an adult at the time, later moved to California where his daughter Evelyn was raised.

Evelyn Einstein had a rocky life, despite speaking four or five languages and earning a master's degree in medieval literature from Berkeley, according to her obituary in The New York Times.

Working alternately as a dog catcher, a cult deprogrammer and a police officer, Evelyn Einstein was impoverished after her divorce. She was married for 13 years to eccentric professor Grover Krantz, a Washington State University anthropologist who attempted to prove Big Foot existed.

After his 2002, death, Krantz's skeleton and that of his Irish wolfhound were placed on display at the National Museum of Natural History.

Meanwhile, his ex-wife slept in cars and scrounged for discarded food. For a while, she lived with her father, then was homeless for three months before moving in with three women in Berkeley.

Einstein Family Sued for Scientist's Money

Einstein's granddaughter found his unpublished manuscript, which led to the 1986 discovery of a trove of love letters describing his difficult first marriage to Maric. A decade later, they were auctioned off for $900,000.

She joined the Einstein family and sued for proceeds in a matter that was settled privately, according to New York Times.

Just before her death this year, she fought Hebrew University for some of the estate's profits.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...