Marilyn “Fuzzy Pink” Niven (1940-2023)

Marilyn Joyce “Fuzzy Pink” Wisowaty Niven, wife of author Larry Niven, died on Sunday, December 3. Tim Griffin announced her passing on Facebook. She was 83.

Larry Niven and Marilyn Wisowaty at Boskone 6 in 1969.

Her roommate at MIT in the Sixties gave her the nickname “Fuzzy Pink” due to her affinity for fuzzy pink sweaters, and that’s what she was called thereafter by almost any fan who knew her. While at MIT she was active in MITSFS, a club notable for its science fiction library, which by the mid-1960s held over 10,000 volumes. She maintained a separate index to the collection dubbed the “Pinkdex”.

She met her future husband, Larry Niven, at NyCon 3, the 1967 Worldcon. They wed in 1969 and were married for 54 years.

She joined the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society in 1968, and had been elected a member of its Board Directors by the time the group bought its first clubhouse in 1973. A few years later she and Larry donated their early home computer to the club, which was entered on its rolls as club member Altair Niven. In 1982, Fuzzy Pink received the Evans-Freehafer Award for club service. The following year she was one of the Guests of Honor at Loscon 10, the club’s annual convention.

LASFS Board of Directors outside the first clubhouse. Fuzzy Pink Niven stands at center, third from the left.

The Nivens’ home was a center of LASFS social activity for decades. In the Seventies this included weekly poker games following the Thursday night meeting. Those poker games were the reason I joined LASFS as a college freshman. There were two tables. Larry, Jerry Pournelle, and the rest of the prestigious players gathered around the “blood” table, where all of a player’s buy-in had to be wagered if called. Fuzzy Pink presided over the “rathole” table where I played, because one could hold back everything but a dollar, which meant I could stretch my five bucks for maybe a couple of hours. There I learned to play LASFS Poker with its ridiculously-named variants like Werewolf, Vampire, and Girdle Sale in Yankee Stadium. Fuzzy Pink was a patient, good-humored and gracious host. If there was ever any screaming drama, it happened at the other table…

She also was one of the people instrumental in creating the social side of Georgette Heyer fandom. Fuzzy Pink was part of the Almack’s Society for Heyer Criticism that hosted a tea at L.A.Con, the 1972 Worldcon. And as John Hertz told the story in Mimosa 26, “Fuzzy Pink Niven no longer mixes the eggnog that inspired the first Georgette Heyer convention,” which was held at the St. Francis Hotel, San Francisco, in 1975.

She was a skilled practitioner of many kinds of crafts, including lace-making and creating table-settings, creations she sometimes entered at the L.A. County Fair. She led a lace-making workshop at Noreascon 3, the 1989 Worldcon.

One of the group’s founders, Fuzzy Pink was named a Fellow of NESFA in 1976.

She was one of the 31 women to whom Robert A. Heinlein dedicated his 1982 novel Friday.

And she was a member of the Board of Directors of the Southern California Institute for Fan Interests (SCIFI) Inc., the organizer of many conventions over the years which currently is bidding for the 2026 Worldcon.

Philip Jose Farmer, Larry Niven, and Fuzzy Pink at the St. Louiscon, the 1969 Worldcon.

15 thoughts on “Marilyn “Fuzzy Pink” Niven (1940-2023)

  1. Sad to hear of her death. I have a couple of photos of her with Larry, but they’re not very good.

    I’ve shared the link with FictionMags and a few others.

  2. Met her and her husband at Boskone 1977… a delightful and wonderful couple.

    Such sad news.

  3. I wish I had had the privilege of meeting the lady. I’ve been married 41 years and can’t imagine life without my Lady J in it.

  4. My heart goes out to Larry in virtual hugs. We have witnessed an amazing woman and I am grateful to have known her.

  5. My condolences to Mr. Niven. I hope it was, at least, as easy as such things ever go.

  6. I concur that fandom, particularly in the SoCal area, will miss Fuzzy and all she had to offer the community. I am honored to have been acquainted with her. My heart goes out to Larry all of her loved ones.

    Thank you for this wonderful tribute to Fuzzy.

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