Mort Drucker Dead, Legendary ‘Mad Magazine’ Caricature Artist Dies At 91

The artist was the man behind some of the most iconic parodies featured in the long-running magazine.

Artist Mort Drucker
Gustavo Morales / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0 Cropped and resized)

The artist was the man behind some of the most iconic parodies featured in the long-running magazine.

Mort Drucker has died. The legendary caricature artist known for iconic movie posters and illustrations in Mad Magazine passed away at age 91, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Drucker’s death was confirmed by his family, as well as the National Cartoonists Society. A cause of death was not given.

“The amazing talent, his full body of work, pales to the man,” Drucker’s daughter, Laurie Bachner, told The Hollywood Reporter.

The artist was born in Brooklyn in 1929.

In a 2012 interview with NJ.com, Drucker revealed that he started drawing at age 7 as a fan of Popeye. He never went to art school and was completely self-taught. Drucker started out in the comics business as a retoucher, where he made contacts with editors before securing a gig that would span five decades and many accolades.


Drucker Was An Award-Winning Artist

In a statement posted to Twitter, the National Cartoonist Society described Drucker’s kind nature and noted his many awards. The artist won the NCS’s Special Features Award four years in a row, from 1985 to 1988.

Drucker was also the inaugural honoree of the “NCS Medal of Honor” at the 69th Annual NCS Reuben Awards in 2015, per an announcement on the National Cartoonist Society website.

“He’s a cartoonist’s cartoonist and the personal hero of many… including myself,” NCS president Tom Richmond said at the time. “Mort is a very deserving and fitting first honoree of this award.”

Drucker was inducted into the Society’s Hall of Fame in 2017.


He Had A Long Career With Mad Magazine

Drucker got his start with the cult comedy magazine, Mad, in 1956. He was best known for his television and movie satires, and his illustrations parodied everything from Dallas (retitled “Dullus” in the cartoon spoof) to Saturday Night Fever to Star Wars.

Star Wars legend Mark Hamill recalled Drucker’s iconic parody of his film in a tribute posted to Twitter.

“It felt like we had really made it when we were brutally mocked in the pages of [Mad magazine],” Hamill tweeted. “Truly a career highlight & when it came to spot-on, uncanny caricature, there was no finer artist than Mort Drucker. Simply the best…by far. #RIP.”

Drucker worked at Mad for five decades. He also famously illustrated the iconic poster for American Graffiti as well as many other posters.

Drucker told NJ.com that when he first began illustrating movie and TV parodies for Mad, he had to “guess” a lot because still photographs from movie and television studios were hard to get. Later, when his Mad parodies became known as a status symbol, Drucker said studios “started sending stills.”

Drucker revealed that an agent for Elizabeth Taylor and her then-husband, Richard Burton, approached Mad to see if they could buy the originals he drew. Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels bought an original splash page Drucker did, and the artist sold some of his original artwork to George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Michael J. Fox as well.

Drucker’s last film parody, a spoof of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, titled The Chronic-Ills of Yawnia: Prince Thespian, was published in 2008.

Drucker is survived by his wife, Barbara Hellerman, daughters Laurie and Melanie, and three grandchildren.