Q: Has any celebrity you’ve drawn ever gotten angry over their caricature?
A: I haven’t directly heard from anyone who was upset with the way I drew them, but indirectly I’ve been told twice about such a reaction.
The first had nothing to do with MAD. Back in 1994 the Superbowl was held in Atlanta, GA., and the media was crawling all over the city. The Tonight Show did several live remotes with an on-the-spot reporter during the week of the game. One day they did their remote from Underground Atlanta, where I have a retail caricature operation. They set up right next to our booth (actually the had us move to a temporary spot for their shoot) and they zoomed in on a sample I had up of Jay Leno with an appropriately enormous chin.. The reporter made a comment about how ordinarily a caricature exaggerates a person’s features, but how in this case the artist did a “straight portrait”. Leno scoffed and asked if that was supposed to be Mr. Potatohead. I later learned Leno hate caricatures of himself, and so I assume he disliked the one I did.
The one MAD story of this nature deals with my very first feature parody for the magazine, “Malcolm in the Middle”. I was contacted by a representative of the actor who played the dad on the show who was interested in buying the original art. I quoted a reasonable price for it but they never called me back. In the ensuing conversation I was told the actor that played the title character of Malcolm, Frankie Muniz, didn’t like his caricatures…
… I haven’t lost any sleep over that.
Thanks to Grant Jonen for the question. If you have a question you want answered for the mailbag about cartooning, illustration, MAD Magazine, caricature or similar, e-mail me and I’ll try and answer it here!
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