---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2002 16:25:27 -0800
From: radtimes <email@example.com>
Subject: OBIT: Rosemary Woodruff -- LSD guru's ex-wife
Rosemary Woodruff -- LSD guru's ex-wife
Susan Sward, Chronicle Staff Writer
Saturday, February 9, 2002
Rosemary Woodruff, former wife of the late psychedelic guru Timothy Leary,
died Thursday in her home in Aptos at age 66.
Surrounded by friends, Ms. Woodruff died of complications from a heart
attack she suffered a week earlier.
Born April 26, 1935, in St. Louis, she grew up in that city and dropped out
of high school to marry an Air Force officer when she was 17. That marriage
ended quickly, and she moved to New York in the 1950s.
She told friends later that it was there that she received her real
education, living in the bohemian community of lower Manhattan that was
populated by jazz musicians and artists.
In 1965, she met Leary, a former Harvard University psychology professor
who was the host of weekend events where participants took LSD at a country
estate in Millbrook, N.Y. Leary -- who coined the oft-quoted phrase "turn
on, tune in, drop out" -- had been dismissed from the Harvard faculty in
the early 1960s for his experiments with drugs.
Ms. Woodruff moved in with Leary and was co-host of the events, which were
attended by numerous celebrities, including English author Aldous Huxley,
psychologist R.D. Laing, actor Peter Fonda and artist Saul Steinberg. She
became the third of Leary's four wives in 1967 at an event that the New
York Times reported was directed by Ted Markland of "Bonanza."
Kate Coleman, a Berkeley author who wrote a recent profile of Ms. Woodruff,
said, "Rosemary was known by the nickname 'Ro.' She was the epitome of hip
and beauty. She knew everyone -- Yoko Ono and John Lennon. She kept in
touch with Huxley when he was in L.A."
Coleman said Ms. Woodruff told her that she helped her husband escape in
1970 from a California state prison where he was serving a 10-year sentence
for a marijuana conviction.
Ms. Woodruff told Coleman that she raised the funds that financed the
escape, in which Leary made his way to a prison roof, traversed the prison
grounds on a cable and then jumped to his freedom on a road outside the
The Weathermen, a revolutionary youth group, helped Leary pull off the escape,
The couple then made their way to Algeria, where they were given sanctuary
for a while by Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver in his compound there.
The couple's marriage broke apart in the mid-1970s, and Ms. Woodruff
traveled throughout Europe and Latin America before "living underground in
Cape Cod for 14 years" because she still faced a pending drug charge in
Laguna Beach and her former husband had told the FBI about her role in his
escape, Coleman said. Leary himself was captured by authorities in
Afghanistan in 1973 and remained in prison in California until he was
released by Gov. Jerry Brown in 1976.
In 1994, authorities in Orange County dropped charges against Ms. Woodruff,
and she surfaced in Half Moon Bay, where she ran a bed-and-breakfast
establishment for five years until her health failed, Coleman said. Ms.
Woodruff then moved to Aptos and gave some guest lectures at the University
of California at Santa Cruz.
Leary died in 1996 of prostate cancer at the age of 75. In Leary's last
months of life, Ms. Woodruff and her former husband were reconciled and she
helped care for him, Coleman said.
Friends said plans have not yet been finalized for a memorial service.
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