Suze Rotolo Dies of Lung Cancer at Age 67
Suze Rotolo, an artist who was known for her romantic relationship with Bob Dylan in the early 1960s, died Thursday in her home in Manhattan. She was 67. The cause was lung cancer.
A photograph of Rotolo and Dylan, walking arm-in-arm, was on the cover of Dylan’s second album, “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.”
Rotolo was the muse behind many of Dylan’s early love songs, including “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” “Boots of Spanish Leather” and “Tomorrow Is a Long Time.”
The couple met at a folk concert when she was just 17 and he was 20 and later shared a walk-up apartment on West Fourth Street in Greenwich Village.
“I once loved a woman, a child I’m told,” Dylan sang in “Don’t Think Twice.” “I gave her my heart, but she wanted my soul.”
Rotolo was from a left-wing family, took Dylan to civil rights rallies and played a role in his political awakening, according to Rolling Stone. She took an extended trip to Italy in 1962, and a lovesick Dylan wrote bittersweet love songs during this period.
“Meeting her was like stepping into the Tales of 1,001 Arabian Nights. She had a smile that could light up a street full of people, a Rodin sculpture come to life,” Dylan wrote.
She wrote a memoir called “A Freewheelin’ Time,” where she referred to Dylan as the “elephant in the room of my life.”