Friday, April 10, 2020

Mort Drucker 1929 - 2020

Thanks to Stephen Goldberg and Adrian C. Sinnott for the pic. From left: Stan Goldberg, John Reiner, Art Cumings, myself, Mort Drucker. This is at the Great Neck Arts Center where Stan and I co-curated a comic art gallery show in 2006. There's a link to one of the panels I moderated with Mort Drucker below. 

Legendary Mad magazine caricature artist Mort Drucker passed away on Wednesday in Woodbury, Long Island. He was 91. He was a revered, one-of-a-kind talent, as well as one of the kindest gentlemen I knew.

There are a lot of obits and accolades online. Here are a few, along with some photos.

From the NY Times obit for Mort Drucker:

"Movie studios often threatened to sue Mad for its parodies. A 1980 spoof of 'The Empire Strikes Back' — portrayed by Mr. Drucker as 'The Empire Throws Up' — prompted a nasty letter from lawyers representing director George Lucas. They demanded all profits from that issue of the magazine and asked that the original art be turned over or destroyed.
"Publisher William Gaines sent them a copy of a letter received days before from Lucas, in which he gushed about the Mad parody and praised Mr. Drucker as the 'Leonardo da Vinci of comic satire.'
"'That’s funny,' Gaines wrote on his letter to the lawyers. 'George liked it.'"
Michael Cavna for the Washington Post:

"It was at a Reuben Awards Convention weekend, in 2015, that I sat with Drucker at a Washington hotel, as he recalled his career with a sense of gratitude. Sitting in the shade poolside, grinning beneath his shock of white hair, he spoke as if fortune had smiled on him.

"'I never wanted to be mean,' he said of his screen-parody work. 'I tried to be kind.'"

Adrian Sinnott, chair of the Long Island National Cartoonists Society Berndt Toast Gang chapter:

"In 1995, while visiting family in Ireland, my brother and I went down to Rathdrum in the Wicklow mountains to the 'Rathdrum International Cartoon Festival.' We met the organizer, Terry Willers and his lovely wife, Valerie (she was indispensable, the festival wouldn't have happened without her). I asked Terry if he'd like any American cartoonists to come over for future festivals. His first choice without having to take any time to consider was, Mort Drucker. I said I'd see what I could do. The next year Mort and Barbara made the trip to the festival and made the news all over Ireland and beyond. Over 20,000 people a day came from Ireland, England and Europe that weekend (to a town with 2000 residents). Years later, when the festival was winding down, Terry wrote to say how wonderful that and the subsequent visits of American cartoonists were."

"It’s no exaggeration (pun intended) that between his influence on my work as an artist, his encouragement, support and friendship, that I owe much of my career to Mort Drucker. But it’s really the friendship I valued the most. He was one of the most humble and genuine people I’ve ever met. We haven’t been able to stay in touch the last few years as much as I would have liked, but I will miss him dearly…. and so will the rest of the world."

In a 1985 Tonight Show appearance, when Johnny Carson asked Michael J. Fox, 'When did you really know you'd made it in show business?' Fox replied, 'When Mort Drucker drew my head.'"

More links:

Video: Mort Drucker and John Reiner - The NCS Masters Collection

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