One of the greatest commercial artists was born almost 100 years ago…


Advertising illustrator Robert “Bob” Peak (born May 30 in either 1927 or 1928) was hired in 1961 to create the poster art for the movie West Side Story, and what he brought to it was a style extraordinarily different from the standard studio release. A delicious mixture of high points in the musical, Peak also incorporated at its center the joy of Tony and Maria in love (an image of Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer inspired by the famous photo of Carol Lawrence and Larry Kert for the original Broadway production). Peak would continue in this field for decades, providing incredible designs for many movie posters, including Camelot, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Funny Girl, Rollerball and Silverado… plus the 13 below.

(By the way, if you’ve noticed a similar art style for the Nightmare on Elm Street movie series posters, there is a good reason for that: They were painted by Matthew Peak, his son.)

Bob Peak’s work appeared in many, many magazines, including Time, Playboy and TV Guide, and he was also hired by the United States Postal Service to illustrate 30 stamps for the 1984 Olympics. He earned numerous awards during his lifetime, which was cut short tragically at 65 in 1992 by a cerebral hemorrhage from a fall.

To many illustrators who came after him, Peak was the “father of movie poster art.” Here are 13 (plus one) of those posters for you to enjoy:


— 13 BRILLIANT MOVIE POSTERS: A DREW STRUZAN Birthday Celebration. Click here.

— 13 POWERFUL MOVIE POSTERS: A FRANK FRAZETTA Birthday Celebration. Click here.

13th Dimension contributor-at-large PETER BOSCH’s first book, American TV Comic Books: 1940s-1980s – From the Small Screen to the Printed Pagehas just been published by TwoMorrows. He has written articles and conducted celebrity interviews for various magazines and newspapers. Peter lives in Hollywood.


Author: Dan Greenfield

Share This Post On


  1. WOW! I had no idea who he was. Did he do most of the covers for the TV guide back in the 70’s too? It looks like the same style done for the first four beautiful Star Wars posters. Sold at Burger Chef restaurant chains in 1977 too. I know Pepsi’s CEO? Commissioned a artist to paint them. I guess that CEO had the original hanging in his office too.

    Post a Reply
  2. Movie posters are a lost art. These are great!

    Post a Reply
  3. Thank you for the article on my Father Bob Peak on his Birthday.

    Post a Reply
    • Thomas, I admire your father’s work very much. My selections were only a tiny amount of the great artwork he produced, as you know. I hope one day to get that great book showcasing his art (in English, not the Japanese text version, so I can learn even more).

      Post a Reply
    • We (of my generation) have grown up with your father’s work who has left an indelible, wonderful visual ID to these movies we love! Thank you, Bob!

      Post a Reply
  4. My great uncle Simon was in West Side Story

    Post a Reply
  5. Such wonderful work from a wonderful artist. I’ve admired his work for decades.

    Post a Reply
  6. Wonderful artist. You can see how he influenced Bill Sienkiewicz.

    Post a Reply
  7. Bob Peak was an Illustrators Illustrator!!

    Post a Reply

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: