Dusty’s Teddy Bear, Einstein

by Carole Gibson

Dusty and Einstein Carole Gibson and Einstein
Dusty pictured with Einstein Carole Gibson pictured with Einstein

Emperor Rosko, in an interview with Dusty back in 1970, asked who her best friend was. After a slightly embarrassed hesitation, and although she admitted it sounded rather “twee”, her answer was “a small bear”. What was it about this small bear that endeared him to Dusty?

She found him one day in the early sixties in a shop window on Oxford St, he was pinned up by one ear, and from that day on, they were constant companions.

Dusty could often be spotted at airports leaving or arriving with the little bear she called Einstein, clutched in her hand. Apparently, if she couldn’t carry him in her hands (and he must have been frisked by many a zealous customs officer!), then he was given space in her luggage, with the instructions that he have enough room around him to allow him to breathe!

She would even make him new clothes, dresses usually. Marcelle Bernstein in his excellent article from 1968, begins by saying that Dusty has spent the whole of a sunny day sitting in her hotel room on the edge of the Lancashire moors. Her curtains are drawn and by artificial light, she makes clothes out of an old nightdress for “a tiny, dingy teddy bear called Einstein”.

But, be he dingy or worn, Dusty often referred to him as her “alter-ego”. He had “the quality of stillness, which nobody else I know has”.

In 1967, Penny Valentine wrote-

“The person Dusty Springfield cares about most in this world is Einstein. Einstein is no ordinary bear. He is small and old and moth-eaten, with an extraordinary resilient smile. Dusty calls him her alter-ego, because she would really like to BE him. Safe, secure, somehow well away from it all. And so the bear is the biggest clue to the true identity of Dusty. Once simply, Mary Isobel Catherine O’Brien and now a complicated girl who doesn’t know where she is going.”

Maybe he was the constant in her life, in the way that a child might have a favorite soft toy or a bit of blanket that they hang on to for years, even into adulthood. He most probably became HER comforter, her extra blanket for the cold.

And where is he now?

Well, he made it to Henley with Dusty, and after she died and the house was being cleared, soft toys were being taken to wherever soft toys get taken to, when at the eleventh hour he was rescued from an almost certain untidy end by Pat Rhodes who knew exactly what she was looking for.

He now lives comfortably in Pat’s bedroom, dressed rather regally and surrounded by masses of other soft toys. They may be fancier and they may have cost quite a bit more, but Einstein holds court.

There definitely is something special about that little bear. Now, if only he could talk...........

Thank you to Carole Gibson and Paul Howes of The Dusty Springfield Bulletin for their kind permission in allowing us to reprint this article.