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Mort Drucker, master of the Mad caricature, is dead at 91
Mort Drucker joined Mad magazine in 1956 and illustrated his last movie parody in 2008. “I think I’ve drawn almost everyone in Hollywood,” he once said.

by J. Hoberman



NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Mort Drucker, a longtime contributor to Mad magazine known for his caricatures of actors, politicians and other celebrities, died Thursday at his home in Woodbury, New York. He was 91.

His death was confirmed by his daughter Laurie Bachner.

Drucker, who specialized in illustrating Mad’s movie and television satires, inspired several generations of cartoonists. “To me, he’s the guy,” caricaturist Drew Friedman said. “I used to imitate his work in Mad when I was a kid. I wanted to be Mort Drucker; I even loved his name.”

Drucker’s facility was best expressed in multi-caricature crowd scenes. His parody of the 1986 Woody Allen film, “Hannah and Her Sisters,” opened with a panel depicting a Thanksgiving dinner that, in addition to most of the movie’s ensemble cast, included caricatures of Allen’s first wife, Louise Lasser; film critics Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel; Mayor Ed Koch of New York; and Mad’s mascot, Alfred E. Neuman. His drawing for a 1970 Time magazine cover, “Battle for the Senate,” now in the National Portrait Gallery, featured a pileup of 15 individually characterized political figures, including President Richard M. Nixon and Vice President Spiro T. Agnew. Mad’s takeoff on the MGM retrospective feature “That’s Entertainment,” published in 1975, required Drucker to caricature more than two dozen stars.

“I think I’ve drawn almost everyone in Hollywood,” he told The New York Times in 2000.

From the early 1960s on, nearly every issue of Mad included a movie parody, and before Ducker retired he had illustrated 238, more than half of them. The last one, “The Chronic-Ills of Yawnia: Prince Thespian,” appeared in 2008.

Morris Drucker was born on March 22, 1929, in Brooklyn. His father, Edward, was a businessman who repaired jukeboxes and ran a bar, among other things. His mother, Sarah (Spielvogel) Drucker, was a homemaker. He attended Erasmus Hall High School, where he met his future wife, Barbara Hellerman.

In addition to his daughter Laurie, he is survived by his wife; another daughter, Melanie Amsterdam; and three grandchildren.

Drucker was modest about his gifts. “When I started working for Mad, they assigned me TV satires and asked me to draw famous people,” he recalled. “So I just did it. It took me a long time to learn the skills I have, and it was time-consuming. With me, everything is trial and error.”

In 2015, Drucker was the first winner of the National Society of Cartoonists’ Medal of Honor for lifetime achievement. In 2017, he was inducted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame.

© 2020 The New York Times Company










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