American artist LeRoy Neiman, who gained fame with his vibrantly colored paintings and sketches of high-profile sporting events and athletes, died in New York City, Wednesday, nearly two weeks after celebrating his 91st birthday.
Neiman won millions of fans with his impressionistic paintings of numerous Super Bowls and Olympic Games, producing many of his iconic paintings on live television, which also earned him notoriety for his flamboyant image, including his trademark handlebar mustache. He eventually became the official artist of the 1980 and 1984 Olympic Winter Games and the 1984 Summer Games.
Other sporting events Neiman captured on canvas included numerous heavyweight boxing matches and the 1972 world chess championship match between American Bobby Fisher and Russian Boris Spassky. Neiman also created portraits of such figures as boxing legend Muhammed Ali and football star Joe Namath.
He first drew public notice in the 1950s, when he became a contributing artist for the adult men’s magazine Playboy. His series for the magazine’s “Man at His Leisure” took him to events held in some of the world’s most glamorous places, including the Grand Prix auto race in Monaco, the steeplechase horse races in London, and the running of the bulls in Pamploma, Spain.