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Bob Peak

Bob Peak

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Robert "Bob" M. Peak was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 commercial illustrator best known for innovative design in the development of the modern movie poster
Movie poster
A movie poster is a poster used to advertise a film. Studios often print several posters that vary in size and content for various domestic and international markets. They normally contain an image with text. Today's posters often feature photographs of the main actors. Prior to the 1990s,...


His artwork
Cover art
Cover art is the illustration or photograph on the outside of a published product such as a book , magazine, comic book, video game , DVD, CD, videotape, or music album. The art has a primarily commercial function, i.e...

 has been on the cover of Time magazine
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

, TV Guide
TV Guide
TV Guide is a weekly American magazine with listings of TV shows.In addition to TV listings, the publication features television-related news, celebrity interviews, gossip and film reviews and crossword puzzles...

, and Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is an American sports media company owned by media conglomerate Time Warner. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the...

. He also illustrated advertisements and U.S. postage stamps.

Early life and career

Bob Peak was born in Denver, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
The City and County of Denver is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is a consolidated city-county, located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains...

 and grew up in Kansas
Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

. He knew from an early age that he wanted to be a commercial illustrator. He majored in geology
Geology is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which it evolves. Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth, as it provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates...

 from Wichita State University
Wichita State University
Wichita State University is a NCAA Division I public university in Wichita, Kansas with selective admissions. WSU is one of six state universities governed by the Kansas Board of Regents. The current president is Dr. Donald Beggs....

 and got a part time job in the art department of McCormick-Armstrong. After serving the military during the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

, Peak transferred to the Art Center College of Design
Art Center College of Design
Art Center College of Design is a private college located in Pasadena, California, and was cited by BusinessWeek as one of the 60 best design schools in the world. The college’s industrial design program is consistently ranked number one by both DesignIntelligence and U.S...

 in Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

, California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, graduating in 1951.

In 1953, Peak moved to New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, landed an Old Hickory Whiskey advertising campaign. His work went on to appear in major advertising and national magazines.

Later career

United Artists
United Artists
United Artists Corporation is an American film studio. The original studio of that name was founded in 1919 by D. W. Griffith, Charles Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks....

 studio hired Peak in 1961 to design the poster images for the film West Side Story
West Side Story (film)
West Side Story is a 1961 musical film directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. The film is an adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn was adapted from William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet. It stars Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno,...

. The success of Peak's work on that film led to work on posters for designer Bill Gold
Bill Gold
Bill Gold is an American graphic designer best known for thousands of movie poster designs.His first film poster was for Yankee Doodle Dandy , and his most recent work was for J...

, including the big-budget musicals My Fair Lady
My Fair Lady (film)
My Fair Lady is a 1964 musical film adaptation of the Lerner and Loewe stage musical, of the same name, based on the 1938 film adaptation of the original stage play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. The ballroom scene and the ending were taken from the previous film adaptation , rather than from...

and Camelot
Camelot (film)
Camelot is a 1967 film adaptation of the musical of the same name. Richard Harris stars as Arthur, Vanessa Redgrave as Guinevere, and Franco Nero as Lancelot. The film was directed by Joshua Logan.-Plot:...

. In the mid-1970s Peak's style would become familiar to fans of science fiction films when he created the poster art for the futuristic film Rollerball
Rollerball (1975 film)
Rollerball is a 1975 American dystopian fiction film directed by Norman Jewison from a screenplay by William Harrison, who adapted his own short story "Roller Ball Murder", which first appeared in 1973 in Esquire magazine.-The Game:...

(1975), which was followed by the first five Star Trek
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Star Trek: The Motion Picture is a 1979 American science fiction film released by Paramount Pictures. It is the first film based on the Star Trek television series. The film is set in the twenty-third century, when a mysterious and immensely powerful alien cloud called V'Ger approaches the Earth,...

films, Superman (1978), Excalibur
Excalibur (film)
Excalibur is a 1981 dramatic fantasy film directed, produced and co-written by John Boorman that retells the legend of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table. Adapted from the 15th century Arthurian romance, Le Morte d'Arthur by Thomas Malory, Excalibur features the music of Richard Wagner...

 (1981), In Like Flint
In Like Flint
In Like Flint is a 1967 film directed by Gordon Douglas, the sequel to the parody spy film Our Man Flint . It posits an international feminist conspiracy to depose the ruling American patriarchy with a feminist matriarchy. To achieve and establish it, they kidnap and replace the U.S. President,...

, and Apocalypse Now
Apocalypse Now
Apocalypse Now is a 1979 American war film set during the Vietnam War, produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The central character is US Army special operations officer Captain Benjamin L. Willard , of MACV-SOG, an assassin sent to kill the renegade and presumed insane Special Forces...

. By the 1980s only the movie poster artist Drew Struzan
Drew Struzan
Drew Struzan is an American artist known for his more than 150 movie posters, which include all the films in the Indiana Jones, Back to the Future and Star Wars film series. He has also painted album covers, collectibles, and book covers.- Early life and education :Drew Struzan was born in Oregon...

 was in as much demand by film directors.

Peak received a commission from the U.S. Postal Service to design 30 stamps for the 1984 Summer Olympics
1984 Summer Olympics
The 1984 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIII Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event held in Los Angeles, California, United States in 1984...

 in Los Angeles and the 1984 Winter Olympics
1984 Winter Olympics
The 1984 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XIV Olympic Winter Games, was a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated from 8–19 February 1984 in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. Other candidate cities were Sapporo, Japan; and Gothenburg, Sweden...

 in Sarajevo
Sarajevo |Bosnia]], surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated along the Miljacka River in the heart of Southeastern Europe and the Balkans....

, Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....


From January 20 through April 17, 2011, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a professional honorary organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of motion pictures...

 presented the "Bob Peak: Creating the Modern Movie Poster" exhibit at its headquarters building in Beverly Hills.


Peak also taught in his own college and later at Art Students League, New York and Famous Artists School
Famous Artists School
Famous Artists School has offered correspondence courses in art since it was founded in 1948 in Westport, Connecticut, U.S.A. The idea was conceived by Albert Dorne as a result of a conversation with Norman Rockwell...



In 1961, Peak was named Artist of the Year by the Artists Guild of New York. He won eight Awards of Excellence and four gold medals from Society of Illustrators
Society of Illustrators
The Society of Illustrators is a professional society based in New York City. Founded in 1901, the mission of the Society is to promote the art and appreciation of illustration, as well as its history...

, which in 1977 Society of Illustrators
Society of Illustrators
The Society of Illustrators is a professional society based in New York City. Founded in 1901, the mission of the Society is to promote the art and appreciation of illustration, as well as its history...

 him to its Hall of Fame. The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter
Formerly a daily trade magazine, The Hollywood Reporter re-launched in late 2010 as a unique hybrid publication serving the entertainment industry and a consumer audience...

presented him the 1992 Key Art Lifetime Achievement Award.

External links