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LeRoy Neiman
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    (June 8, 1921-June 20, 2012)
    Born in St. Paul, Minnesota
    Birth name was LeRoy Runquist
    Expressionist painter
    Best known for his depictions of athletes and sporting events
    Illustrator for 'Playboy'
    Official artist for five Olympics: Munich (1972), Montreal (1976), Lake Placid (1980), Sarajevo (1984) and Los Angeles (1984)
    Wrote 'All Told: My Life Among Athletes, Playboys, Bunnies, and Provocateurs' (2012)
    Cameo appearances in four 'Rocky' films
    Inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame as an observer (2007)
    He sported the art world's most outrageous mustache this side of Salvador Dali.
    He smoked huge cigars.
    Critics either ignored or panned his paintings, with one calling him 'the most belittled artist' of the 20th century.
    His 'Man at His Leisure' feature for 'Playboy' let him live out a lifestyle most readers could only fantasize about. (Not that the profile writer is jealous or anything.)
    He was married to Janet Byrne for 55 years until his death.
    He gave one of his paintings to a plumber as payment for installing a sink, saying 'Fair exchange. My art for his.'
    His paintings are on display in the halls of fame for baseball, basketball, football, boxing and tennis.
    Art critic Robert Hughes said he was the second most popular artist in the US, behind Andrew Wyeth and ahead of Andy Warhol (1982).
    He said, 'I've got the public. I don't care about the critics.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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