The wonderful artist Robert de Michiell has passed away, following a long illness. He’s pictured above, with his husband, Broadway General Manager Jeffrey M. Wilson.
I knew Robert because he illustrated all of the original Libby Gelman-Waxner columns in Premiere, and he provided the cover for If You Ask Me, the collected columns published by St.Martins. He also created terrific ads for the commercial run of The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told.
Robert’s output was dazzling, and included everything from New Yorker covers to memorable Fire Island postcards to the posters for Broadway shows. He was a delightful, generous, brave man.
Robert had recently been putting together a glorious collection of his work, and he’d asked Libby to contribute. Here’s what she had to say:
For so many years, I was America’s most beloved and irresponsible film critic in the glorious pages of Premiere magazine. While my words remained penetrating and vivacious, here was the magazine’s greatest challenge: who could possibly capture my physical beauty, and my frolicsome intelligence, in an appropriate image? A photograph was out of the question, because not only does the camera add ten pounds, but my enemies have been known to use Photoshop as a weapon. The only solution was to call upon a supremely gifted and totally adorable artist: the sublime Robert de Michiell.
When I first heard that Robert had agreed to portray me, I felt just like Barbra Streisand contemplating a warm bagel with every imaginable topping – all I wanted to say was yes, yes, yes, and how did I get so lucky? In fact, one of Robert’s finest illustrations pictures me graciously pursuing Barbra’s tour bus.
Every month I would treasure Robert’s delicious work, as I battled a chiseled Brad Pitt in Fight Club, tried on Uma Thurman’s form-fitting, taxi cab yellow warm-up suit in Kill Bill, and danced with Frodo. His portraits proved that I was young, lovely and above all else, triumphantly blonde. Whenever I see Robert’s work, on posters and magazine covers and gallery walls, I always think: he makes everything in this world joyous, playful and irresistible.
Robert was the only possible choice to create the cover for my collected columns, titled If You Ask Me. I worship this cover, and not just because Robert has me dangling a shopping bag with the logo Lox World. Another spectacular de Michiell? A practically nude, sparkling Libby in Showgirls.
I adore Robert de Michiell, and I trust him. He’s a masterful artist and a completely fabulous human being, if you ask me.