26 Facts About Al Hirschfeld


Albert Hirschfeld was an American caricaturist best known for his black and white portraits of celebrities and Broadway stars.


Al Hirschfeld was born in 1903 in a two-story duplex at 1313 Carr Street in St Louis, Missouri, and moved with his family to New York City in 1915, where he received his art training at the National Academy of Design.


Al Hirschfeld married chorus girl Florence Ruth Hobby in 1927; the couple separated in 1932 and divorced in 1943.


In 1924, Al Hirschfeld traveled to Paris and London, where he studied painting, drawing and sculpture.


Al Hirschfeld's style is unique, and he is considered to be one of the most important figures in contemporary drawing and caricature, having influenced countless artists, illustrators, and cartoonists.


Al Hirschfeld's caricatures were regularly drawings of pure line in black ink, for which he used a genuine crow quill.


Al Hirschfeld illustrated many books in color, most notably among them Harlem As Seen By Hirschfeld, with text by William Saroyan.


Al Hirschfeld was commissioned by CBS to illustrate a preview magazine featuring the network's new TV programming in fall 1963.


Al Hirschfeld prepared a slightly different likeness, perhaps more flattering, but he and the network pointed out to Funt that the artwork prepared for newspapers and some other print media had been long in preparation and it was too late to withdraw it.


Al Hirschfeld started young and continued drawing to the end of his life, thus chronicling nearly all of the major entertainment figures of the 20th century.


Al Hirschfeld held the position for about four years, and then in 1924 Hirschfeld moved to Paris to work and lead the Bohemian life.


Al Hirschfeld grew a beard, necessitated by the exigencies of living in a cold water flat.


Al Hirschfeld drew many original movie posters, including for Charlie Chaplin's films, as well as The Wizard of Oz.


The "Rhapsody in Blue" segment in the Disney film Fantasia 2000 was inspired by his designs, and Al Hirschfeld became an artistic consultant for the segment; the segment's director, Eric Goldberg, is a longtime fan of his work.


Al Hirschfeld was the subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary film The Line King: The Al Hirschfeld Story.


Al Hirschfeld is known for hiding Nina's name, written in capital letters, in most of the drawings he produced after her birth.


Al Hirschfeld said it was easier to hide the NINAs than it was to answer all the mail.


Al Hirschfeld famously contributed to The New York Times for more than seven decades.


Al Hirschfeld's work appeared in The New York Herald Tribune, The Old World, The New Yorker Magazine, Collier's, The American Mercury, TV Guide, Playbill, New York magazine, and Rolling Stone.


Al Hirschfeld followed that with a collection of silent film stars including Rudolph Valentino, ZaSu Pitts and Buster Keaton.


Al Hirschfeld was the recipient of two lifetime achievement Tony Awards.


Al Hirschfeld was honored with a star on the St Louis Walk of Fame.


In 2002, Al Hirschfeld was awarded the National Medal of Arts.


Al Hirschfeld was an Honorary Member of the Salmagundi Club.


On January 20,2003, Al Hirschfeld died of natural causes in his home at 122 East 95th Street in Manhattan.


Al Hirschfeld was survived by his daughter Nina Hirschfeld West, and his third wife, Louise Kerz.