Suze Rotolo, who became a 1960s icon by appearing on the cover of Bob Dylan’s classic “Freewheelin’” album, has died in New York at the age of 67.
Her husband Enzo Bartoccioli said the cause of death was lung cancer.
Rotolo met Dylan in 1961 just prior to his ascension to fame and she inspired a number of his most famous songs, including “Don't Think Twice, It's All Right,” “Boots of Spanish Leather,” “Ballad in Plain D” and “Tomorrow Is a Long Time.”
“Right from the start I couldn’t take my eyes off her,” Dylan wrote in his memoir, “Chronicles: Volume 1,” published in 2004. “She was the most erotic thing I’d ever seen. She was fair skinned and golden haired, full-blood Italian. The air was suddenly filled with banana leaves. We started talking and my head started to spin. Cupid’s arrow had whistled past my ears before, but this time it hit me in the heart and the weight of it dragged me overboard.”
The daughter of Italian Communists in Queens, N.Y., Rotolo’s views on civil rights and other social causes strongly influenced Dylan’s politics and writing.
Dylan and Rotolo were a couple for three years. She eventually became an artist and teacher and in 2008 wrote a book about her early experiences in Greenwich Village called “A Freewheelin' Time.”