We recently came across a cache of Lucian Lupinski paintings. Who was Lucian Lupinski? Lucian was an artist-in-residence who worked at the Post from 1973 through the late 1980’s. In the 1980’s, the Post often featured a current celebrity, politician or other notable on the cover and Lucian was great at painting portraits. It was a kismet-kind of combination. After trying to explain who Larry Hagman and Julio Iglesias were to the intern (with sudden inspiration, I declared: “Enrique’s dad!”), while going through the artwork, I was delighted to find the intern knew knew Tom Selleck. She exclaimed, “he was on Friends!” Yes, he was, but I feel sorry for any woman who doesn’t remember the twinkle in the eye of Magnum, P.I. Yes, ladies, the original painting is to swoon over. We will see that many of our 80’s celebrities are still active, including Selleck, who is currently starring as head of a family with a history of police service, and as police chief on the CBS series Blue Bloods.
Happily, every generation knows Cos. The April 1986 issue of the Post declared that Bill Cosby arrived just in time to save the television sitcom. That is not an overstatement. “Cosby has rescued TV’s degenerating comedy situation by cleaning p the act and going back to the basics of love and laughter in family life,” the article noted. Who was ever so fun to watch with kids?
Naturally, the young intern knew this one. Although he died in 1977, Elvis was on the cover in 1985 for a story called, “Legends That Will Not Die”. Boy, is that an understatement. Cheesy outfit or not, the legend of Elvis continues, twenty-six years after this cover. The legends in the article? Besides Elvis, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Babe Ruth and John Wayne. As legends that won’t die, those are good ones.
“Great painting of Vanna White,” my young cohort exclaimed. Okay, totally unfair, Vanna. Anyone would recognize you because you haven’t changed a bit since 1987. Still looking stunning in her gowns, still the great smile, still turning those letters after all these years. How many of us can claim we’ve been in the same job since 1982?
Some “celebrities” even I had forgotten, but some will always be recognized by young and old (or, uh, middle-aged) alike. Artist Lupinski’s gorgeous, brown-eyed Clint Eastwood didn’t make the cover. There was a story on this mayor of Carmel, California in September 1987, but the cover was another Lupinski portrait: Elizabeth Taylor. Medically oriented in those years, the Post was big on the fight against AIDS, and Ms. Taylor was a dazzling spokesperson for that cause. Well, fine, I’ll just keep Clint all to myself.
I was also pleased the intern instantly recognized Diane Sawyer. I think the Selleck and Sawyer paintings were Lupinski’s best. “Look how beautiful she is here!” I said, hoisting the original painting. “She’s still beautiful,” the intern replied simply. You know, I think there may be hope for this younger generation yet.