LeRoy Neiman, Olympiads official painter and sports artist, dies at 91

Written on:June 21, 2023
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The 91-year-old sports artist died in Manhattan(Image Courtesy: frankkeillor)

LeRoy Neiman, noted artist of sports events as well as a contributor to Playboy magazine, died at a Manhattan hospital, at the age of 91.

Neiman’s publicist, Gail Parenteau, confirmed his death. The artist left behind his 55-year-old wife. Playboy boss Hugh Hefner, paid his tribute to the artist who was his “long time friend” on Twitter.

A chance encounter in 1953 brought Hefner and Neiman together and the two became friends. Neiman contributed to the Playboy magazine for decades.

LeRoy was the official painter of five Olympiads. “For an artist, watching a (Joe) Namath throw a football or a Willie Mays hit a baseball is an experience far more overpowering than painting a beautiful woman or leading political figure,” said the renowned sports artist.He was also famous for painting sports stars like Muhammad Ali, Babe Ruth and chess player Bobby Fischer.

The charitable man donated to several organisations working to promote art and creativity among impoverished and underprivileged children. Organisations, like the LeRoy Neiman Center for Youth in San Francisco and the Arts Horizons LeRoy Neiman Art Center in Harlem, got millions as donations from the artist.

Neiman was a contented man who remarked, “I’ve zeroed in on what you would call action and excellence. Everybody who does anything to try to succeed has to give the best of themselves, and art has made me pull the best out of myself.”

The artist was honoured with several awards like a lifetime achievement award from the University of Southern California, an induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame a 2004 Ellis Island Medal of Honour.

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