A painting of Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson to advertise the 1976 western "The Missouri Breaks" is one of many stellar examples of the art of illustrator Bob Peak (1927-1992). The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in Beverly Hills, Calif., has opened an exhibition of his work, "Bob Peak: Creating the Modern Movie Poster," which features many of his iconic paintings used for film marketing in the 1960s, '70s and '80s.
Illustrator Bob Peak is seen at his Central Park South studio in New York City in 1960. Born in Denver, Peak attended Wichita State University and then the Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles, and taught at several schools in L.A. and New York City. Peak won more than 150 awards from artist, advertising and publishing groups, and his work is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institute's Portrait Gallery and the American Museum of Sport.
Though making his reputation early in magazine and advertising illustration (including his renderings of the Marlboro Man), Peak produced more than 130 movie posters - his first for the 1961 musical, "West Side Story."
Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn are captured in Peak's lover-ly artwork for "My Fair Lady." It was the first movie poster to win an award from the Society of Illustrators.
Key art for the musical "Camelot," starring Richard Harris, Vanessa Redgrave and David Hemmings.
A very different view of Camelot was created for John Boorman's 1981 "Excalibur." The film's exotic armor, R-rated passion and violence, and surreal beauty were perfectly captured by Peak.
Francis Ford Coppola's hallucinogenic Vietnam War odyssey "Apocalypse Now" (1979).
Studies for Peak's poster artwork for "Apocalypse Now."
In addition to movie posters, Peak also did countless magazine covers. This illustration of Elvis Presley graced the cover of TV Guide.
Poster artwork for the 1967 "Kaleidoscope," which starred Warren Beatty and Susannah York.
The 1975 sci-fi actioner "Rollerball" starring James Caan depicted a dystopian future society where corporations ruled, athletes were gods, and media celebrated violence. Yes, this was science fiction!
George C. Scott was downright Hemingway-esque in Franklin J. Schaffner's "Islands in the Stream" (1977).
The posters for "Superman" (1978) promised, "You will believe a man can fly" - and we did!
"Star Trek: The Motion Picture" was the 1979 big-budget cinema reboot of the 1960s TV series, with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and newcomer Persis Khambatta boarding a refurbished USS Enterprise. Peak told Los Angeles Magazine that he'd originally made Khambatta's head larger than what was contractually allowed for in relation to the other stars, and he had to reduce it.
Among the sequels of the "Star Trek" franchise for which Peak produced key art was "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock," in which Leonard Nimoy's character - killed off at the end of "Star Trek II" - found a way to come back to life. More movies ensued!
Based on the British TV series by Dennis Potter, "Pennies From Heaven" (1981), starring Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters and Christopher Walken, mixed Depression-Era grit with 1930s movie musical glitz.
Christopher Walken also starred with Natasha Richardson, Rupert Everett and Helen Mirren in "The Comfort of Strangers" (1990), Paul Schrader's mystery set in Venice.
As "Last Tango in Paris" was stirring controversy among moviegoers in 1973, Peak created this rendition of Marlon Brando for Time Magazine.
Peak's noted sports illustrations include a commission by the U.S. Postal Service - the largest given to an individual artist - for a series of stamps, post cards and posters honoring the 1984 Olympic Games in Sarajevo and Los Angeles.
The Academy's exhibition, "Bob Peak: Creating the Modern Movie Poster," will run through April 17, 2011.