For 55 years almost every celebrity had one thing in common. No matter the field they worked in—whether it was film, television, music, or politics—they were all drawn by longtime Mad Magazine artist Mort Drucker. His style influenced countless other artists over the years and still does to this day. His caricatures were a defining staple in the humor magazine, helping it become a favorite for generations of readers. Today those fans are mourning the man who parodied the rich and famous for over five decades. Mort Drucker passed away at the age of 91 at his home in Woodbury, N.Y., Wednesday, April 8, 2020.
Drucker, a self-taught artist, began his professional career at 18 in 1947. But according to him, his passion for drawing began even earlier. He once said, “My mother told me that when the doctor was delivering me I did a caricature of him on my way out.” He never stopped. He had a long and illustrious celebrated career that included contributions to DC Comics, Esquire Magazine, Star Wars comics, the covers of Time and Newsweek, countless books, and movie posters for some of the most famous films ever made. That includes work on the American Graffiti poster.
The National Cartoonists Society inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 2017. He also received the organization’s first ever Medal of Honor for lifetime achievement in 2014. One of his political works, his 1970 Time magazine cover “Battle for the Senate,” hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. It features 15 politicians, including President Richard Nixon.
But Drucker is best remembered for his satirical work at Mad. Starting in 1956 his distinct style filled the covers and pages of the beloved magazine. Few celebrities escaped his caricatures. As he said in 2010, “I think I’ve drawn almost everyone in Hollywood.” Even readers who didn’t know him knew his work.
Drucker was born in Brooklyn, New York on March 22, 1929 to Edward and Sarah (Spielvogel) Drucker. He met his wife Barbara Hellerman while he was a student at Erasmus Hall High School.
The incomparable Mort Drucker passed away last night. The World has lost a not just an extraordinary talent but a shining example of kindness, humility and humor. He was recognized for his work with the NCS Special Features Award, Reuben Award and induction into the Hall of Fame. pic.twitter.com/OvvbIv4liH— National Cartoonists Society (@NatCartoonSoc) April 9, 2020
He is survived by his wife, the couple’s two daughters, Laurie and Melanie, and three grandchildren, as well as millions of fans, the countless artists he inspired and influenced, and the celebrities he helped make even more famous. And a lot funnier.
Featured Image: National Cartoonists