One of the greatest commercial artists was born almost 100 years ago…
By PETER BOSCH
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 Page, has just been published by TwoMorrows. He has written articles and conducted celebrity interviews for various magazines and newspapers. Peter lives in Hollywood.