Happy Birthday Jane Austen

Today is Jane Austen’s 239th birthday.  Some time ago, my mom set forth to read all of her novels and completed it quite easily.  I have not read any, but have seen “Lost in Austen” and it did spark my interest in her writing.  I am not the only one that is late to the party, the popularity of her writing didn’t hit it’s stride until over on hundred years after her death.  The world is a better place because Jane was in it and still feels the loss that she has left.

jane-austen

NAME: Jane Austen
OCCUPATION: Writer
BIRTH DATE: December 16, 1775
DEATH DATE: July 18, 1817
PLACE OF BIRTH: Steventon, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
PLACE OF DEATH: Winchester, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
FULL NAME: Jane Austen

BEST KNOWN FOR:  Jane Austen was a Georgian era author, best known for her social commentary in novels including Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Emma.

The seventh child and second daughter of Cassandra and George Austen, Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775, in Steventon, Hampshire, England. Jane’s parents were well-respected community members. Her father served as the Oxford-educated rector for a nearby Anglican parish. The family was close and the children grew up in an environment that stressed learning and creative thinking. When Jane was young, she and her siblings were encouraged to read from their father’s extensive library. The children also authored and put on plays and charades.

Over the span of her life, Jane would become especially close to her father and older sister, Cassandra. Indeed, she and Cassandra would one day collaborate on a published work.

In order to acquire a more formal education, Jane and Cassandra were sent to boarding schools during Jane’s pre-adolescence. During this time, Jane and her sister caught typhus, with Jane nearly succumbing to the illness. After a short period of formal education cut short by financial constraints, they returned home and lived with the family from that time forward.

Ever fascinated by the world of stories, Jane began to write in bound notebooks. In the 1790s, during her adolescence, she started to craft her own novels and wrote Love and Friendship, a parody of romantic fiction organized as a series of love letters. Using that framework, she unveiled her wit and dislike of sensibility, or romantic hysteria, a distinct perspective that would eventually characterize much of her later writing. The next year she wrote The History of England…, a 34-page parody of historical writing that included illustrations drawn by Cassandra. These notebooks, encompassing the novels as well as short stories, poems and plays, are now referred to as Jane’s Juvenilia.

Jane spent much of her early adulthood helping run the family home, playing piano, attending church, and socializing with neighbors. Her nights and weekends often involved cotillions, and as a result, she became an accomplished dancer. On other evenings, she would choose a novel from the shelf and read it aloud to her family, occasionally one she had written herself. She continued to write, developing her style in more ambitious works such as Lady Susan, another epistolary story about a manipulative woman who uses her sexuality, intelligence and charm to have her way with others. Jane also started to write some of her future major works, the first called Elinor and Marianne, another story told as a series of letters, which would eventually be published as Sense and Sensibility.

She began drafts of First Impressions, which would later be published as Pride and Prejudice, and Susan, later published as Northanger Abbey by Jane’s brother, Henry, following Jane’s death.

In 1801, Jane moved to Bath with her father, mother and Cassandra. Then, in 1805, her father died after a short illness. As a result, the family was thrust into financial straits; the three women moved from place to place, skipping between the homes of various family members to rented flats. It was not until 1809 that they were able to settle into a stable living situation at Jane’s brother Edward’s cottage in Chawton.

Now in her 30s, Jane started to anonymously publish her works. In the period spanning 1811-16, she pseudonymously published Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice (a work she referred to as her “darling child,” which also received critical acclaim), Mansfield Park and Emma.

In 1816, at the age of 41, Jane started to become ill with what some say might have been Addison’s disease. She made impressive efforts to continue working at a normal pace, editing older works as well as starting a new novel called The Brothers, which would be published after her death as Sandition. At some point, Jane’s condition deteriorated to such a degree that she ceased writing. She died on July 18, 1817, in Winchester, Hampshire, England.

While Austen received some accolades for her works while still alive, with her first three novels garnering critical attention and increasing financial reward, it was not until after her death that her brother Henry revealed to the public that she was an author.

Today, Austen is considered one of the greatest writers in English history, both by academics and the general public. In 2002, as part of a BBC poll, the British public voted her No. 70 on a list of “100 Most Famous Britons of All Time.” Austen’s transformation from little-known to internationally renowned author began in the 1920s, when scholars began to recognize her works as masterpieces, thus increasing her general popularity. The Janeites, a Jane Austen fan club, eventually began to take on wider significance, similar to the Trekkie phenomenon that characterizes fans of the Star Trek franchise. The popularity of her work is also evident in the many film and TV adaptations of Emma, Mansfield Park, Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility, as well as the TV series and film Clueless, which was based on Emma.

Austen was in the worldwide news in 2007, when author David Lassman submitted to several publishing houses a few of her manuscripts with slight revisions under a different name, and they were routinely rejected. He chronicled the experience in an article titled “Rejecting Jane,” a fitting tribute to an author who could appreciate humor and wit.

Happy Birthday Dovima

Today is the 87th birthday of the woman you didn’t know you knew, Dovima.  Her iconic images from the 50’s help set the stylized tone that it is remembered for today.  Her story is truly American:  discovered on the streets of New York City, worked with the best photographers and designers in the world, immortalized in film.  The world is a better place because she was in it and still feels the loss that she has left.

 

NAME: Dovima
OCCUPATION: Model
BORN: December 11, 1927, New York City, NY
DIED: May 31, 1990, Fort Lauderdale, FL
SPOUSE: Casper West Hollingsworth (m. 1983–1986)
MOVIES: Funny Face
CHILDREN: Alison Murray

BEST KNOWN FOR:  Dorothy Virginia Margaret Juba, later known as Dorothy Horan, and best known as Dovima, was an American model during the 1950s.

Born in New York City, Dovima was discovered on a sidewalk in New York by an editor at Vogue, and had a photo shoot with Irving Penn the following day. She worked closely with Richard Avedon, whose photograph of her in a floor-length evening gown with circus elephants—”Dovima with the Elephants”—taken at the Cirque d’hiver, Paris, in August 1955, has become an icon. The gown was the first evening dress designed for Christian Dior by his new assistant, Yves Saint-Laurent.

Dovima was reputed to be the highest-paid model of her time. She had a cameo role as an aristocratic-looking, but empty-headed, fashion model with a Jackson Heights whine: Marion in Funny Face (Paramount, 1957).

Dovima gave birth to a daughter named Alison on July 14, 1958, in Manhattan. Alison’s father is Dovima’s second husband, Alan Murray.

She died of liver cancer on May 3, 1990 at the age of 62.

Happy Birthday Agnes Moorehead

Today is Agnes Moorehead‘s 114th birthday.  Everyone loves her amazing over-the-top scenery-chewing performance as Endora on Bewitched. She was fierce before fierce was fierce. You should also watch Citizen Kane and pay attention to her character:  simply perfection. Then, she stole focus in every scene in What’s the Matter With Helen? and Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte, she made you want to watch her every move, to not miss a second of her. She was in Pollyanna and Rain Tree County and Dark Passage (have you seen Dark Passage?  Amazing.)  She carved out a bigger-that-life life that no one has replicated.  The world is a better place because Agnes was in it and still feels the loss that she has left.

 

Born: December 6, 1900 Clinton, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died: April 30, 1974 (aged 73) Rochester, Minnesota, U.S.
Occupation: Actress

Agnes Robertson Moorehead (December 6, 1900 – April 30, 1974) was an American actress. Although she began with the Mercury Theatre, appeared in more than seventy films beginning with Citizen Kane and on dozens of television shows during a career that spanned more than thirty years, Moorehead is most widely known to modern audiences for her role as the witch Endora in the series Bewitched.

While rarely playing leads in films, Moorehead’s skill at character development and range earned her one Emmy Award and two Golden Globe awards in addition to four Academy Award and six Emmy Award nominations. Moorehead’s transition to television won acclaim for drama and comedy. She could play many different types, but often portrayed haughty, arrogant characters.

Moorehead died of uterine cancer on April 30, 1974 in Rochester, Minnesota. Her mother, Mary M. Moorehead (August 25, 1883 – June 8, 1990) survived her by 16 years, dying at the age of 106 in 1990.

Moorehead appeared in the movie The Conqueror (1956), which was shot near St. George, Utah — downwind from the Yucca Flat, Nevada nuclear test site. She was one of over 90 (of 220) cast and crew members–including costars Susan Hayward, John Wayne, and Pedro Armendariz, as well as director-producer Dick Powell — who, over their lifetimes, all developed cancer; at least 46 from cast and crew have since died from cancer, including all of those named above. No bombs were tested during the actual filming of The Conqueror, but 11 explosions occurred the year before. Two of them were particularly “dirty,” depositing long-lasting radiation over the area. The 51.5-kiloton shot code-named “Simon” was fired on April 25, 1953, and the 32.4-kiloton blast “Harry” went off May 19. (In contrast, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was 13 kilotons.) “Fallout was very abundant more than a year after Harry,” says Dr. Pendleton, a former AEC researcher. “Some of the isotopes, such as strontium 90 and cesium 137, would not have diminished much.” Pendleton points out that radioactivity can concentrate in “hot spots” such as the rolling dunes of Snow Canyon, a natural reservoir for windblown material. It was the place where much of The Conqueror was filmed. Pendleton also notes that radioactive substances enter the food chain. By eating local meat and produce, the Conqueror cast and crew were increasing their risk. Says Dr. Robert C. Pendleton, director of radiological health at the University of Utah stated, “With these numbers, this case could qualify as an epidemic. The connection between fallout radiation and cancer in individual cases has been practically impossible to prove conclusively. But in a group this size you’d expect only 30-some cancers to develop. With 91, I think the tie-in to their exposure on the set of The Conqueror would hold up even in a court of law.”

Agnes was one of the first members of the company to make a connection between the film and the fallout. Her close friend Sandra Gould, who was featured with her on Bewitched, recalls that long before Moorehead developed the uterine cancer that killed her in 1974, she recounted rumors of “some radioactive germs” on location in Utah, observing:

“Everybody in that picture has gotten cancer and died.” As she was dying, she reportedly said: “I should never have taken that part.”

AWARDS

Emmy 1967 for The Wild Wild West “Night of the Vicious Valentine”
Golden Globe 1945 for Mrs. Parkington
Golden Globe 1965 for Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte
Hollywood Walk of Fame 1719 Vine St. (motion pictures)
St. Louis Walk of Fame

TELEVISION

Bewitched Endora (1964-72)

FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR

Frankenstein: The True Story (30-Nov-1973)
Charlotte’s Web (22-Feb-1973) [VOICE]
Dear Dead Delilah (1972)
What’s the Matter with Helen? (30-Jun-1971) · Sister Alma
The Ballad of Andy Crocker (18-Nov-1969)
The Singing Nun (17-Mar-1966) · Sister Cluny
Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (15-Dec-1964) · Velma
Who’s Minding the Store? (28-Nov-1963) · Mrs. Phoebe Tuttle
How the West Was Won (1-Nov-1962) · Rebecca Prescott
Jessica (19-Apr-1962) · Maria Lombardo
Bachelor in Paradise (1-Nov-1961) · Judge Peterson
Twenty Plus Two (13-Aug-1961)
Pollyanna (19-May-1960)
The Bat (9-Aug-1959) · Cornelia Van Gorder
Night of the Quarter Moon (4-Mar-1959)
Tempest (1-Dec-1958)
The Story of Mankind (8-Nov-1957) · Queen Elizabeth I
Raintree County (4-Oct-1957) · Ellen Shawnessy
Jeanne Eagels (2-Aug-1957)
The True Story of Jesse James (Feb-1957) · Mrs. Samuel
The Opposite Sex (26-Oct-1956) · Countess
Pardners (25-Jul-1956)
The Revolt of Mamie Stover (11-May-1956)
The Swan (26-Apr-1956) · Queen Maria Dominika
Meet Me in Las Vegas (9-Mar-1956) · Miss Hattie
The Conqueror (21-Feb-1956)
All That Heaven Allows (7-Jan-1956) · Sara Warren
The Left Hand of God (21-Sep-1955) · Beryl Sigman
Untamed (1-Mar-1955)
Magnificent Obsession (4-Aug-1954)
Those Redheads from Seattle (16-Oct-1953) · Mrs. Edmonds
Main Street to Broadway (13-Oct-1953)
Scandal at Scourie (17-May-1953) · Sister Josephine
The Story of Three Loves (5-Mar-1953)
The Blue Veil (26-Oct-1951)
Show Boat (13-Jul-1951) · Parthy Hawks
Adventures of Captain Fabian (21-Mar-1951)
Fourteen Hours (6-Mar-1951)
Caged (19-May-1950) · Ruth Benton
Captain Blackjack (1950)
Without Honor (26-Oct-1949)
The Great Sinner (29-Jun-1949) · Emma Getzel
The Stratton Story (12-May-1949)
Johnny Belinda (14-Sep-1948) · Aggie McDonald
Station West (1-Sep-1948)
The Woman in White (7-May-1948) · Countess Fosco
Summer Holiday (23-Feb-1948) · Cousin Lily
The Lost Moment (21-Nov-1947) · Juliana Borderau
Dark Passage (5-Sep-1947) · Madge Rapf
Our Vines Have Tender Grapes (6-Sep-1945) · Bruna Jacobson
Her Highness and the Bellboy (11-Jul-1945) · Countess Zoe
Keep Your Powder Dry (8-Mar-1945) · Lt. Col. Spottiswoode
Tomorrow, the World! (29-Dec-1944) · Jessie Frame
Mrs. Parkington (12-Oct-1944) · Aspasia Conti
The Seventh Cross (24-Jul-1944) · Mme. Marelli
Since You Went Away (20-Jul-1944) · Emily Hawkins
Dragon Seed (18-Jul-1944) · Third Cousin’s Wife
Jane Eyre (7-Apr-1944) · Mrs. Reed
Government Girl (5-Nov-1943) · Adele
The Youngest Profession (26-Feb-1943) · Miss Featherstone
The Big Street (13-Aug-1942) · Violette Shumberg
Journey Into Fear (7-Aug-1942) · Mrs. Mathews
The Magnificent Ambersons (10-Jul-1942) · Fanny
Citizen Kane (1-May-1941) · Mary Kane

Happy Birthday Alfred Eisenstaedt

Today is the 116th birthday of photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt.  You may not recognize his name, but you no doubt recognize the iconic work he did at Life Magazine, some of his images have made it into the collective American consciousness.  Some of his photographs are widely considered the most recognizable images of the 20th century.  For those reasons, you should know his name.  The world is a better place because Alfred was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

NAME: Alfred Eisenstaedt
OCCUPATION: Photographer
BIRTH DATE: December 06, 1898
DEATH DATE: August 23, 1995
PLACE OF BIRTH: Dirschau, Poland
PLACE OF DEATH: Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts

Best Known For:  Alfred Eisenstaedt was German-born, U.S. photojournalist. He was one of the first four photographers hired by Life Magazine.

Alfred Eisenstaedt was born on December 6, 1898 in Dirschau, West Prussia. He became a professional photographer in Berlin and came under the influence of Erich Salomon. In 1935 he immigrated to New York City, where he became one of the first four photographers hired by Life Magazine. He contributed more than 2,500 picture stories and 90 cover photos to Life. He died in 1995.

Happy Birthday Diane Ladd

Today is the 82nd Birthday of the amazing actress Diane Ladd.  Wiki and IMDB say her birth year is 1932 and Biography.com says it’s 1942.  It doesn’t matter.  She has has a long career full of amazing work, but if you only see one film, see “Wild at Heart.”  You will want to see everything she has ever done.

NAME: Diane Ladd
OCCUPATION: Film Actress
BIRTH DATE: November 29, 1932
EDUCATION: Louisiana State University
PLACE OF BIRTH: Laurel, Mississippi
ORIGINALLY: Rose Diane Ladnier

BEST KNOWN FOR: Diane Lane is a Golden Globe–winning actress of films and TV and the mother of actress Laura Dern.

Diane Ladd  is an American actress, film director, producer and published author. She has appeared in over 120 roles, on television, and in miniseries and feature films, including Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974), Wild at Heart (1990), Rambling Rose (1991), Ghosts of Mississippi, Primary Colors, 28 Days (2000), and American Cowslip (2008). Twice divorced and currently married, Ladd is the mother of actress Laura Dern by ex-husband actor Bruce Dern.

Ladd was born Rose Diane Ladner in Meridian, Mississippi in 1932, the only child of Mary Bernadette (née Anderson; August 15, 1912 – May 23, 2002), a housewife and actress, and Preston Paul Ladner (August 14, 1906 – April 1982), a poulterer. Ladd is a second cousin of playwright Tennessee Williams and is also related to poet Sidney Lanier.  Ladd was raised in the Roman Catholic faith of her mother.

Ladd was formerly married to actor and one-time co-star Bruce Dern from 1960–1969; the couple had two children, Diane Elizabeth Dern and actress Laura Elizabeth Dern. Diane died at 18 months from head injuries caused by falling into a swimming pool.  Ladd and Laura Dern co-starred in the films Wild at Heart and Rambling Rose.  They also appeared together in Inland Empire, another film by David Lynch.  They currently co-star on the HBO series Enlightened. Ladd is now married to Robert Charles Hunter.

In 1971, Ladd joined the cast of the CBS soap opera, The Secret Storm.  She was the second actress to play the role of Kitty Styles on the long-running daytime serial.  She later had a supporting role in Roman Polanski’s 1974 film Chinatown, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her role as Flo in the film Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.  That film inspired the TV series Alice, in which Flo was portrayed by Polly Holliday.  When Holliday left the TV series, Ladd succeeded her as waitress Isabelle “Belle” Dupree.  In 1993, Ladd appeared in the episode “Guess Who’s Coming to Chow?” of the CBS comedy/western series Harts of the West in the role of the mother of co-star Harley Jane Kozak. The 15-episode program, set on a dude ranch in Nevada starred Beau Bridges and Lloyd Bridges.

In 2004, Ladd played psychic Mrs. Druse in the television miniseries of Stephen King’s Kingdom Hospital. In April 2006, Ladd released her first book entitled: Spiraling Through The School Of Life: A Mental, Physical, and Spiritual Discovery. In 2007, she co-starred in the Lifetime Television film Montana Sky.

In addition to her Academy Award nomination for Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, she was also nominated (again in the Best Actress in a Supporting Role category) for both Wild at Heart and Rambling Rose, both of which she starred alongside her daughter Laura Dern.  Dern received a nomination for Best Actress for Rambling Rose. The dual mother and daughter nominations for Ladd and Dern in Rambling Rose marked the first time in Academy Award history that such an event had occurred.  They were also nominated for dual Golden Globe Awards in the same year.

Ladd has worked in the theatre as well. She made her Broadway debut in the play Carry Me Back to Morningside Heights in 1968. In 1976 she starred in the play, A Texas Trilogy: Lu Ann Hampton Laverty Oberlander, for which she received a Drama Desk Award nomination.

Happy Birthday David Rakoff

Today is David Rakoff‘s 50th birthday.  He is quite possibly the wittiest writer we have seen this century.  The 2oth century had Dorothy Parker and the 21st had David Rakoff.  He has also had the great fortune of being an excellent orator of his own works, reading a David Rakoff book is a treasure, but listening to him read it brings color and light and darkness (oh the amazingly beautiful darkness) to the words in the ways he intended.  His death is an enormous loss for the world.  Please do yourself a favor and read (or listen to) something that he has written, I guarantee you will become a veracious fan.  The world is a better place because David was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

I have re-posted several of my favorite David Rakoff posts today, please give yourself a gift and read/listen to one of his books soon.  You deserve it.

David Rakoff 1

Name:  David Benjamin Rakoff
Born:  November 27, 1964
BirthplaceMontreal, Quebec, Canada
Died:  August 9, 2012 (aged 47)
Location at time of death:  Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States
Occupation:  Essayist, journalist, actor
Nationality:  Canadian-American

David Rakoff was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the youngest of three children. His brother, the comedian Simon Rakoff, is four years older than David and their sister Ruth Rakoff, author of the cancer memoir When My World Was Very Small, is the middle child.   Rakoff has said that he and his siblings were close as children.[4][6] Rakoff’s mother, Gina Shochat-Rakoff, is a doctor who has practised psychotherapy and his father, Vivian Rakoff, is a psychiatrist.  Rakoff has written that almost every generation of his family fled from one place to another.  Rakoff’s grandparents, who were Jewish, fled Latvia and Lithuania at the turn of the 20th century and settled in South Africa.  The Rakoff family left South Africa in 1961 for political reasons, moving to Montreal for seven years. In 1967, when he was three, Rakoff’s family moved to Toronto.  As an adult, he said that he identified as Jewish.

“I will stipulate to having both French sea salt and a big bottle of extra virgin in my kitchen. And while the presence of both might go some small distance in pigeonholing me demographically, neither one of them makes me a good person. They are mute and useless indicators of the content of my character.”
― David Rakoff, Don’t Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never-Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems

Rakoff attended high school at the Forest Hill Collegiate Institute, graduating in 1982. In the same year he moved to New York City to attend Columbia University, where he majored in East Asian Studies and studied dance.  Rakoff spent his third year of college at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and graduated in 1986. Rakoff worked in Japan as a translator with a fine arts publisher. His work was interrupted after four months when, at 22, he became ill with Hodgkin’s disease, a form of lymphatic cancer which he has referred to as “a touch of cancer”. He returned to Toronto for eighteen months of treatment, including chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.

“Being a stranger was like being dead,
and brought to mind how, in a book he had read
that most folks misunderstood one common state:
The flip side of love is indifference, not hate.”
― David Rakoff, Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish

From 1982, Rakoff lived in the United States (minus his four-month stay in Japan in 1986), first as a student, then as a resident alien. In the early 1990s he was issued a green card, a subject about which he wrote in one of his early newspaper articles.[8] After living in the United States for twenty-one years, Rakoff was motivated by a desire to participate in the political process and applied for U.S. citizenship. Rakoff chronicled the experience of becoming an American citizen in an essay published in Don’t Get Too Comfortable. He became a U.S. citizen in 2003, while at the same time retaining his Canadian citizenship.

Rakoff was a prolific freelance writer and a regular contributor to Conde Nast Traveler, GQ, Outside Magazine and The New York Times Magazine. His writing also appeared in Business 2.0, Details, Harper’s Bazaar, Nerve, New York Magazine, Salon, Seed, Slate, Spin, The New York Observer, Vogue, Wired and other publications. He wrote on a wide and eclectic range of topics.

Rakoff published three bestselling collections of essays, which include his own illustrations. Both Fraud (Doubleday 2001) and Don’t Get Too Comfortable (Doubleday 2005) were awarded a Lambda literary award (which recognises excellence among LGBT writers who use their work to explore LGBT lives), both times in the “Humor” category. Half-Empty (2010) won the 2011 Thurber Prize for American Humor.

In 2010, while writing the book Half Empty, Rakoff was diagnosed with a malignant tumor, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and later developed a post-radiation sarcoma behind his left collarbone and began chemotherapy.  He died in Manhattan on August 9, 2012.

 

 

Happy Birthday Patrick Nagel

Today is the 69th birthday of the artist Patrick Nagel.  If you grew up in the 80’s or have ever been to a nail salon in a strip mall, you know his work.  You probably didn’t know his story, which is where I come in.  I love the stylized era of his work, it takes me right back to watching music videos on MTV.  I think of Remington Steele, huge brick cell phones, and Duran Duran.  I hope this helps you appreciate his work and gives you a fuller understanding of the man behind the woman in sunglasses.  The world is a better place because Nagel was in it and still feels the loss that Nagel has left.

Name:  Patrick Nagel
Born: 25-Nov-1945
Birthplace: Dayton, OH
Died: 4-Feb-1984
Location of death: Santa Monica, CA

BEST KNOWN FOR:  Illustrator whose work consists of minimal paintings of women with white skin, black hair, and the barest hint of a nose. Recognisable work includes the cover of Duran Duran’s Rio (1984).

Patrick Nagel (November 25, 1945 – February 4, 1984) was an American artist. He created popular illustrations on board, paper, and canvas, most of which emphasize the simple grace of and beauty of the female form, in a distinctive style descended from Art Deco. He is best known for his illustrations for Playboy magazine, and the pop group Duran Duran, for whom he designed the cover of the best selling album Rio.

Nagel was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1945, but was raised and spent most of his life in the Los Angeles area. After serving in the United States Army with the 101st Airborne in Vietnam, Nagel attended the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles in 1969, and in that same year he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from California State University, Fullerton.

In 1971, Nagel worked as a graphic designer for ABC Television, producing graphics for promotions and news broadcasts. The following year, he began work as a freelance artist for major corporations and magazines, including Architectural Digest, Harper’s Magazine, IBM, ITT Corporation, MGM, Oui, Rolling Stone, United Artists, and Universal Studios.
In 1976, Nagel began to regularly contribute images to Playboy magazine, which improved his exposure and the popularity of “the Nagel Woman” image to a huge audience. In 1978, he made his first poster image for Mirage Editions, with whom he would print many Nagel women images.

Nagel’s 1982 painting for the album cover of rock group Duran Duran’s hit album Rio would become one of his best known images.

He also worked for many commercial clients, including Intel, Lucky Strike cigarettes, Ballentine Whiskey, and Budweiser. As his popularity grew he began offering limited edition prints of his work.

Nagel would start with a photograph and work down, always simplifying and removing elements which he felt were unnecessary. The resulting image would look flat, but emphasized those elements which he felt were most important.

According to Elena G. Millie, curator of the poster collection at the Library of Congress:

Like some of the old print masters (Toulouse-Lautrec and Bonnard, for example), Nagel was influenced by the Japanese woodblock print, with figures silhouetted against a neutral background, with strong areas of black and white, and with bold line and unusual angles of view. He handled colors with rare originality and freedom; he forced perspective from flat, two-dimensional images; and he kept simplifying, working to get more across with fewer elements. His simple and precise imagery is also reminiscent of the art-deco style of the 1920s and 1930s- its sharp linear treatment, geometric simplicity, and stylization of form yield images that are formal yet decorative.

Nagel’s figures generally have black hair, bright white skin, full-lipped mouths, and the distinctive Nagel eyes, which are often squared off in the later works. Because of the intense stylization and reduction of facial features into clean lines, generally the figures resemble each other, though Nagel worked with many models, including Playboy Playmates Cathy St. George, Tracy Vaccaro and Shannon Tweed. Nagel also painted several celebrity portraits including those of Joan Collins (whose portrait was subsequently released as a limited edition print) and Joanna Cassidy.

In 1984, at the age of 38, the artist participated in a 15-minute celebrity “Aerobathon” to raise funds for the American Heart Association. Afterwards, he was found dead in his car, and doctors determined by autopsy that he had suffered a heart attack.