Home | Quotations | Newspaper Articles | Special Features | Links | Search

The New York Times, January 19, 1966

Nina Clemens Gabrilowitsch, 55, Twain's Last Direct Heir, Dies

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 18 (AP) - The county Coroner's office reported today that Miss Nina Clemens Gabrilowitsch, the last direct descendant of Mark Twain, had died Sunday. She was 55 years old.

Miss Clemens was found dead in her room at a Los Angeles motel where she often stayed. Several bottles of pills and alcohol were found in the room, the police said. An autopsy was planned.

A Los Angeles bartender said today that Miss Clemens had quipped to him on Saturday night: "When I die, I want artificial flowers, jitterbug music and a bottle of vodka at my grave."

She was the granddaughter of Twain, whose real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens. She preferred to use the writer's family name rather than her own.

Miss Clemens, who was born four months after her grandfather died, once said that although she had never known him she knew his works "backwards and forwards."

Miss Clemens was the daughter of Twain's daughter, Mrs. Clara Langhorne Clemens Samoussoud, and Clara's first husband, Ossip Gabrilowitsch. Mr. Gabrilowitsch was conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra from 1919 until his death in 1936. Miss Clemens's mother died in San Diego on Nov. 19, 1962.

A family attorney, Al Matthews, said Miss Clemens had lived on the income of Twain's estate, which he estimated at about $2-million. He said Miss Clemens had an income of $1,500 a month after taxes.

The body is to be sent for burial to Elmira, N. Y., where Twain lived for many years.

Return to The New York Times index

Quotations | Newspaper Articles | Special Features | Links | Search