Heinz Beans widow dies in Lothians castle

Drue Heinz, a wealthy American international philanthropist of the literary arts, has died at her castle near the Capital at the age of 103.
Drue Heinz in 1955. Picture: Heinz EndowmentsDrue Heinz in 1955. Picture: Heinz Endowments
Drue Heinz in 1955. Picture: Heinz Endowments

Mrs Heinz, who was the widow of HJ “Jack” Heinz II, chief executive and grandson of the founder of the global “57-varieties” firm HJ Heinz, passed away yesterday at Hawthornden Castle, in Lasswade, Midlothian, her family and the Heinz Endowments said.

The castle has been used as a literary retreat for hundreds of writers from around the world, including Helen Vendler, Jonathan Coe, Ian Rankin and Alasdair Gray.

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Described as “a woman of boundless energy”, Mrs Heinz attended literary festivals across Scotland into her 90s.

Mrs Heinz was a well-known figure on the world’s literary circuit and publisher of the literary magazine the Paris Review for 15 years until her retirement in 2008.

Her host of activities over the decades included serving on the boards of many cultural organisations, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Academy in Rome, and the International Council of the Museum of Modern 

In 1995 she endowed the University of Pittsburgh’s fiction prize and was closely 
involved in the Endowments’ initiative to develop Pittsburgh’s Heinz Hall in 1971 and its efforts to create a downtown cultural district.

Born Doreen Mary English, Heinz had been married three times.

Her first husband was John Mackenzie Robertson, followed by Dale Wilford Maher, the first secretary of the US legation in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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As “Doreen English” she played a small role in the 1948 murder mystery film Uneasy Terms starring Michael Rennie and Moira Lister.

She married Mr Heinz in 1953. He died in 1987. She was also the stepmother of John Heinz, a US senator from Pennsylvania who was killed in a 1991 plane crash.

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Teresa Heinz Kerry, his widow, serves as chair emeritus of The Heinz Endowments.

Mrs Heinz Kerry said: “Drue was a very private person but she came to know an amazing group of people in her life. She was smart and passionate and deeply interested in art, literature, and especially poetry.

“That passion and support made her interesting and helped her make a substantive contribution in ways she cared about, especially on issues like art and beauty.”

In an interview last year, Daniel Halpern, with whom Mrs Heinz founded Ecco Press, said: “She loved, I think, having a press. She loved publishing books. She loved writers.”