Sports Artist LeRoy Neiman Dead at 91

Colorful depictions of sporting events made him American icon
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2012 1:22 AM CDT
Leroy Neiman sketching Cher in 1981 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.   (AP Photo/Las Vegas News Bureau)
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(Newser) – Flamboyant sports artist LeRoy Neiman has died at the age of 91 after a long and colorful life and career. The artist, best known for his brightly colored, impressionistic paintings and sketches of major sport events, rivaled American artists like Norman Rockwell and Grandma Moses in popularity, notes the New York Times. Neiman—who painted risqué murals in mess halls during World War II service as an Army cook in Europe—met Hugh Hefner in the early '50s and became a contributing Playboy artist for more than 50 years.

Neiman produced countless live drawings of sports events for TV, and was the official artist of five Olympic Games, beginning in 1972, and the official Super Bowl computer artist for CBS. "For an artist, watching a Joe Namath throw a football or a Willie Mays hit a baseball is an experience far more overpowering than painting a beautiful woman or leading political figure," he told an interviewer in 1972. His memoir, All Told: My Art and Life Among Athletes, Playboys, Bunnies and Provocateurs, was published earlier this month. Neiman is survived by his wife, Janet, whom he married in 1957. (Read more artist stories.)

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