Losing A Great Editor
Today, I need to write a personal post. Someone important to my life died yesterday. Lee Lorenz was a kind, creative man, and was the Art Editor of The New Yorker from 1973–1997. He is the person who brought me into The New Yorker in 1979 and I will be forever grateful to him for that. The moment he said he wanted to buy my first cartoon put into motion an amazing ride, a trajectory, a life I dreamed of as a kid.
A kind man, Lee had a gentle demeanor and lovely smile. He had an inclusive laugh that quietly exploded out of him from time to time. I always felt comfortable around him, if a good bit nervous because of his position at the magazine. I think he endeavored to calm and inspire his flock of cartoonists, and in a way created something of a community that I so enjoyed and benefited from during his years as editor.
Lee had a keen eye and innovative approach to what artists he brought into The New Yorker stable of cartoonists. Lee is responsible for bringing in women cartoonists after a long drought of no women drawing cartoons at the magazine. Over dinner at our home, I interviewed him for my history, Very Funny Ladies, and asked him, in his early years as editor if he was actively looking for women who draw cartoons. He said no, he was looking for different ways to express humor. This approach led to more diversity in humor, art and gender, and eventually racial diversity among the artists.
Lee was a gifted and seasoned cartoonist before being selected as Art Editor in 1973. His work was wonderful, with an expressive brush line and light humor that ranged from politics to the daily absurdities of life.
For a deep look at Lee’s work and career, please read my husband’s post on Inkspill. Michael and I probably would not have found each other had it not been for Lee bringing us into the magazine a year apart (Michael in 1978, me 1979), a few years before we actually met. And I’ll never forget the huge bouquet of flowers Lee sent to us when our first child was born.
Thank you, Lee. You will be greatly missed.