Einstein died on April 18, 1955 of heart failure. A wily LIFE Magazine photographer, knowing the affair was going to be big news and access to Einstein’s family and funeral was going to be an intensely private affair, grabbed a case of scotch whiskey to use as bribes (he knew people would be reluctant to take money but hardly anyone would refuse a good bottle of firewater). His ploy worked. He drove to Einstein’s office, gave the superintendent of the building a bottle of whiskey and viola, he was in Einstein’s office taking pictures of his desk. The photographer was also able to bribe gravediggers who told him that Einstein was going to be “cremated in 20 minutes” allowing the photographer to get more pictures of Einstein’s family in mourning. As luck would have it though, Einstein’s son introduced himself to the photographer and subsequently called LIFE Magazine asking that the pictures not be published. Now, 60 years later, LIFE presents a collection of photos from that historic day. You can view more of the pictures at LIFE Magazine.
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