In the world of caricatures, artist Mort Drucker was a legend, famously not only spending years providing iconic art for the pages and covers of Mad Magazine, but also designing a number of amazing posters for movies like American Graffiti. His work brought smiles to millions throughout his professional career, which is why we are sad to report that he has passed away at the age of 91.
Per The New York Times, Mort Drucker died earlier today at his home in Woodbury, New York, though the cause of death was not made known. He is survived by his wife Barbara, daughters Laurie Bachner and Melanie Amsterdam, and three grandchildren. Though he worked for many publishers over the course of his career, he was best known for his work for Mad Magazine, a company for which he worked for over six decades. Reacting to the news, the publication posted a remembrance message on their official Twitter account, featuring Drucker among many of the drawings that he did over the years:
As you can probably tell, Mort Drucker's specialty was in the realm of TV and movie star caricatures – which interestingly wasn't a particular talent of the artist's when he started working for Mad in the mid-1950s. As his skill in that particular department began to improve, he continued to get more and more assignments. While the drawings weren't initially a staple of the publication, Drucker's contributions were so well appreciated that they started being included in every single issue.
Mort Drucker's style eventually became to a certain degree synonymous with Mad Magazine, but his work extended into other mediums as well, including comics, coloring books, and television animation. As seen in the clipped artwork above, his best known movie poster was the one he drew for George Lucas' American Graffiti, but he also did one for the classic sports comedy The Bad News Bears:
Not every interaction that Mort Drucker had with the film industry was positive, as the Lucasfilm legal department actually sent Mad Magazine a cease-and-desist letter trying to get an issue featuring a Drucker piece called "The Empire Strikes Out" recalled. The publication responded by sending back a letter from George Lucas praising the artwork and offering to purchase the original.
During his career, Mort Drucker received numerous awards and commendations for his work, including numerous esteemed prizes from National Cartoonists Society. He is a member of the group's Hall of Fame, and upon hearing about his passing the organization posted on social media.
We here at CinemaBlend send our deepest condolences to Mort Drucker's family and loved ones. If you have fond memories of the artist or his work, please hit the comments section and share.