Mort Drucker Who Created Iconic 'Mad Magazine' Illustrations Dies at 91
On Wednesday, April 8, 2020, Mort Drucker passed away at the age of 91. He was well-known as the cartoonist for “Mad Magazine” and worked for them for more than 50 years.
Drucker died at his home in Woodbury, New York, with his wife, Barbara, by his side. The pair had been together for more than 70 years.
According to his daughter, Laurie Bachner, the star fell ill last week. She explained how her father had difficulty walking and developed breathing problems.
Drucker had the best life
Bachner, however, didn’t give a specific cause of day for Drucker but share that he hadn’t tested for the coronavirus. In a statement, she said: “I think my father had the best life anyone could hope for.”
She also revealed that her father had been married to “the only woman he ever loved and got to make a living out of what he loved to do.” “Mad Magazine” took to social media to pay tribute to its long-term cartoonist.
More sad news... MORT DRUCKER, a giant and legend of comics has passed away. His contributions to the cartooning and comics world were the work of a true genius. We'll miss him but his legacy lives on! pic.twitter.com/9PZANWpHaS— Francesco Francavilla (@f_francavilla) April 9, 2020
Mad Magazine mourns his death
The magazine wrote: “RIP, Mort Drucker, whose caricatures revealed as much as they ridiculed.” The publication promised to “continue to satirize even in dark times, and laugh like Idiots while doing it,” in his memory.
According to Drucker’s friend, cartoonist John Reiner, the star had been quarantined for weeks with no outside contact before his death. Reiner said his last words were: "'I'm the luckiest man. I've had a wonderful life.’”
RIP to the legend Mort Drucker. in his honor I will now perform the entire Mad "Star Wars Musical" pic.twitter.com/UZYL16ScMq— rob sheffield (@robsheff) April 9, 2020
Some of Mort’s accolades
The late cartoonist had many accolades under his belt. In 1987, he was named the cartoonist of the year and in 2015, Drucker became the first winner of the National Cartoonists Society Medal of Honor Award.
I just heard that Mort Drucker has left us -growing up as a young artist I would buy @MADmagazine and rush to see the art he created. I had the honor to work with him on our #stateofeuphoria record, I can’t begin to tell you how happy that made me #MortDrucker RIP💜 @Anthrax pic.twitter.com/TNKT57Hnvp— Charlie Benante (@skisum) April 9, 2020
Drawing came naturally for Drucker
In a 2016, interview with Reiner for the Cartoonists' Society, Drucker said he never worried about how to draw images of movie stars, singers, and politicians. He explained, at the time, that his art came “naturally” and he never had to copy anyone else.
One last note on Mort Drucker, who died last night. I recently bought an original from a 1961 MAD and sent it to Mort’s friend John Reiner to show him. Mort shared some of the research material he used — you can see the expressions on the woman's face in the first three panels. pic.twitter.com/O6W7xDjjOn— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) April 10, 2020
Wanting to freelance for Mad
In October 1956, Drucker walked into the office of publisher Bill Gaines at “Mad” to look for freelance work by showing him his portfolio. According to legend, the publisher and some of the staff were listening to a Brooklyn Dodgers game at the time.
I grew up on the art of Mort Drucker in Mad Magazine. He could pack so many faces and so much business in one panel. Here’s his opening frame from their parody of The Heartbreak Kid - and a nice appreciation https://t.co/lfgGYg2Xnl #RIPMortDrucker pic.twitter.com/PeQcbDLlru— Larry Karaszewski (@Karaszewski) April 9, 2020
How he got his Mad gig
So Gaines told Drucker, “If the Dodgers win, we’ll give you an assignment.” The Dodgers won and the cartoonist got the job, however, the publisher confessed later to Drucker that he was going to get an assignment anyway.
RIP, Mort Drucker, whose caricatures revealed as much as they ridiculed. In your memory, we will continue to satirize even in dark times, and laugh like Idiots while doing it. pic.twitter.com/AUWEaIMWUe— MAD Magazine (@MADmagazine) April 9, 2020
A self-taught artist
Drucker was a self-taught illustrator and freelance cartoonist. In 2012, the cartoonist shared that he started drawing as a 7-year-old and was a fan of Popeye.
Working at DC Comics
Before joining “Mad” he spent three years early in his career at DC Comics. He did more than 300 illustrations when he started and urged the magazine to do more film and television satires.
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