Mort Drucker, whose instantly recognizable TV and movie caricatures were a beloved 55-year Mad magazine staple that included parodies such as “Botch Casually and the Somedunce Kid,” “Rosemia’s Boo-Boo,” “The Odd Father,” “The Way We Bore,” “Star Blecch” and “How Lame Is Earl,” died Wednesday at his home in Woodbury, Long Island, N.Y. He was 91.
His death was announced by his friend, the cartoonist John Reiner, and the National Cartoonists Society. No cause of death was given, but COVID-19 is not suspected.
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“The incomparable Mort Drucker passed away last night,” the Society said in a tweeted statement. “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.”
Drucker, whose illustrated targets included the famous of all sorts, from Hollywood to Washington D.C. and beyond, began cartooning in the late 1940s — at one point in the early ’50s joining the staff of what would become the DC Comics publishing company. He was hired at Mad in 1956, and by the early 1960s his movie and TV parodies — they’d eventually total well more than 200 — had become a regular feature of the iconic satirical periodical.
Clerks filmmaker Kevin Smith said in a tweet: “Never met Mort Drucker, but as a MAD fan throughout my childhood, his name loomed as large as any super star of the 70s. The man shaped my sense of humor and my worldview. Thank you, Mort, for the laughs and also for always giving me something to look forward to as a kid!”
His Star Wars parodies became classic sci-fi ephemera, earning high praise from George Lucas, who called Drucker “the Leonardo da Vinci of comic satire.” Lucas had been a fan even before Star Wars, though: The director had hired Drucker to illustrate the film poster for 1973’s American Graffiti. The film eventually got the Drucker treatment in Mad (see below).
Drucker also created album covers and various ads, but he’ll certainly be remembered by more than one generation of movie lovers, TV fanatics, comics aficionados and appreciators of the well-drawn zinger as one of Mad’s revered “usual gang of idiots.”
He is survived by wife Barbara, daughters Laurie Bachner and Melanie Amsterdam and three grandchildren. A memorial will be held sometime after the widespread social-distancing due to the coronavirus.
Following news of Drucker’s death, fans, including CNN’s anchor (and cartoonist) Jake Tapper, began tweeting their favorite Mad parodies. See a selection below.
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
He could pack so much into just one panel — from 1972 pic.twitter.com/fEX3h5xQ1Z
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) April 9, 2020
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
As much as any single contributor could, Mort Drucker embodied MAD magazine for me. Many of his illustrations are as vivid in my mind as the movies and TV shows that inspired them. (And I would never have found NETWORK without him.) #rip pic.twitter.com/Uac4fbzNxX
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) April 9, 2020
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
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
— Michael Price (@mikepriceinla) April 9, 2020
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