Ray Kinstler started out at age 16 as a comic book artist in the 1940s and '50s, then drew illustrations for many magazines including The Shadow and Doc Savage pulps, eventually rising through the art world to be one of the America's most famous portrait painters. He painted every President from Nixon to Trump (before he was President) with the exception of Barack Obama, and those of Ford and Reagan became the official White House portraits . He painted many famous people, including John Wayne, James Cagney, Clint Eastwood, Carol Burnett, Katherine Hepburn, and Gregory Peck. He painted two Supreme Court Justices.
I interviewed him for Alter Ego magazine about his comic book career, and we became friends from that time on. He was funny, very witty, amazingly brilliant, and loved to chat. I never heard him brag. He told me about being nervous when he was asked to do the official portrait of John Wayne. Wayne regaled Ray with stories about his life and movie career while being painted. Cagney, who was generally shy in private, did much the same. "You can't believe how intimidating it was to paint your heroes", he once told me.
I had long admired and respected Ray, and being friends with him only heightened that feeling. Rest in peace, old friend.
What an interesting interview that complements your personal recollections, he was obviously a very interesting man, with quite a talent... a lot of great artwork that brings back some fond memories.
Thanks for the post Jim, RIP Mr Kintstler.
Last Edit: Jun 1, 2019 10:10:38 GMT -5 by trailboss
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