17 May

Dusty and the Duke

Milton Glaser Collection: Box 75, Folder 1. Cover of Life magazine.

A year before his 1970 illustration for an Elliott Gould cover story in Time magazine, Milton Glaser was called upon to contrast two major screen actors for Life: Dustin Hoffman and John Wayne. Compared to the ambivalence and wide-angled social scope of the Gould article, though, the story in Life volleys commonplaces back and forth between the liberal-introvert Hoffman and the macho-conservative Wayne and the fact that their roles tend to follow the same example. The latter is “strong, decisive, moral, and nearly always a winner,” whereas Hoffman is “conspicuously short on these qualities.”

Milton Glaser Collection: Box 53, Folder 20. Sketch for Life magazine.

In contrast to the many sketches with multiple angles and styles for the Elliott Gould art, Glaser seems to have struck on fairly early to the approach in this assignment, with the double-decker illustration imitating a widescreen aspect ratio, and conflating the actors’ personalities and their presentation in their films. On the bottom half, Glaser’s adapts his full-color psychedelic style to a Sergio Leone-ish close up on the Duke, while at top a lonely, small, disconsolate Hoffman is rendered in black and white. (See also?)

Milton Glaser Collection: Box 53, Folder 20. Sketch for Life magazine.

Though the article lacks much in the way of penetrating insight (the photographs, by John Dominis, are better), both actors give good quotes. Dustin Hoffman has this advice which perhaps some would like to pass along to Tom Cruise: “I don’t think that at 50 you should be doing what you did when you were 30.” Admittedly, this alludes to his intention to become primarily a director—an ambition that was never really realized (forty years later, he has only one credit, 2012’s Quartet). At the end there’s a joke that Hoffman’s next role is a Western (of sorts) Little Big Man, and although “it would be fun to report that Duke Wayne has signed to play a bisexual Russian art critic who foments a campus revolt,” he, too, would be wearing a cowboy hat in his next part, in Chisum.

17 May 2013
Milton Glaser
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