Artist LeRoy Neiman, official painter of five Olympiads and a contributing artist at Playboy for several years, died Wednesday (June 20) at the age of 91, his publicist tells the AP. The cause was not immediately available.
Neiman was known for his instant renditions of sporting events, including a 1972 chess match between Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer and live drawings of the Olympics, and was the official computer artist of the Super Bowl for CBS.
Neiman said in 1972, “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.”
One subject Neiman painted over and over again was boxer Muhammad Ali. Neiman recorded over 15 years of the prizefighter’s professional life and those paintings hang in the LeRoy Neiman Gallery at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Ky. Below is one of his Ali paintings, along with Neiman and baseball player Mark McGwire standing in front of another one of Neiman’s paintings.
Neiman is survived by his wife of 55 years, Janet Byrne Neiman.