Mr. Larkin is an American Illustrating Legend
This is the ....
Bob Larkin Omigod Gallery

Monday, July 1, 2013

Len Leone Sr.

The publishing world lost a legend when Leonard P. Leone Sr. passed away on July 1st, 2013 at the age of 89. He was born in Brooklyn, NY on March 11, 1924.

Len was the Art Director at Bantam Books for 30 years from 1955 to 1984. His innovations and the use of top illustrators helped to propel Bantam to become a giant in the paperback book world.

Len’s use of a Who’s Who list of artists included James Bama, Bob Larkin, Fred Pfeiffer, Boris Vallejo, Lou Feck, Tom Lovell, Robert Maguire, Bob Peak, Barye Phillips, Robert Abbett, Dean Cornwall, Sandy Kossin, John Berkely, Vincent DiFate, Roger Kastel, James Avati, Ron Lesser, Bernie Fuchs, Mitchell Hooks, Howard Rogers, and many, many more.

Doc Savage fans owe a huge debt of gratitude to Len as he influenced the decision to reprint the pulp stories, designed the Doc Savage logo and book lettering, hired James Bama for the art, and directed Bama to give Doc his iconic widow’s peak and musculature.

Len was a huge mentor and inspiration to Bob Larkin. "Len was like a father to me", stated Bob just hours after Len passed away at 2:10PM EST on July 1, 2013.

The world will never see another Len Leone. Thanks for all the incredible eye candy, Len, RIP.
Courtney Rogers

Glendale, AZ


Rick Tucker said...

Thank you for enlightening me as well as for mentioning this man's contribution to the highlighting of good illustrations in the service of getting people to buy and crack those books.

Anonymous said...

I typically do not care to see the overused word "Legend" in regard to someone, but in this instance, no other word will do.

I was honored to start my career at Bantam when he was still there, and I have some of the original cover art he chose over the years for various books.

His influence can still be seen on covers, and he pioneered the use of white covers with big black type - see Herman Hesse's covers, for example.

He was a great guy and a decent man in an industry full of sharks. We shall not see the likes of him again. Rest in peace, amigo.

Ed Young

Courtney Rogers said...

Well said, Ed.

I had the pleasure of having 4-5 long phone conversations with Len in late 2007. I can think of no better word to describe him than "Legend".

Ed, I would be very interested in knowing what original Bantam art you have in your possession and would love seeing some snapshots of them! I would also enjoy hearing about your time at Bantam.

Courtney Rogers
Glendale, AZ

Anonymous said...

I remember meeting Mr Leone when I was a child, my dad did hundreds of covers under his direction, (including the Hesse books), and would occasionally bring me into the city w/him when bringing the art in for Mr Leone's approval. Dad will be sorry to hear of his passing, he truly was a legend in the business.
Beth Edwards