LeRoy Neiman married fine art to popular art with his brilliantly colored, energetic depictions of sports, celebrities, America at play, life on safari, and many famous locations.
Mr. Neiman was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He left high school in 1942 to join the U.S. Army, returning four years later to obtain his high school degree. He then studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (where, for a time, he also taught), the University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois.
Early in the 1950s Mr. Neiman became a fashion illustrator for the department store of Carson, Pirie, Scott & Co., where he met Playboy founder Hugh Hefner in 1953.
LeRoy Neiman resides in New York City overlooking Central Park, where he keeps his studio, offices, archives and penthouse on separate floors.
The release of his latest book, All Told: My Art and Life Among Athletes, Playboys, Bunnies, and Provocateurs, also marks the tremendous milestone of his 91st birthday.
What films have you appeared in, Mr. Neiman?
I played an artist in a comedy called Rooster. It was a zany film by Glen Larson, a friend who produced several successful television series including Magnum PI.
Among the hundreds of paintings you've completed, how many do you have in your own personal collection? Do you have a favorite?
It has been difficult to hold onto many paintings but I have retained a few. Possibly the current favorite is titled Big Band completed in 2005. It measures 13 feet x 9 feet. It has 18 nearly life size recognizable portraits of the biggest jazz stars that I knew and saw perform in the 1950s, '60s, '70s, '80s and includes Wynton Marsalis.