Classic Movie Poster Artist John Alvin Dies
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Renowned movie poster artist John Alvin passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, February 6, 2008. He was 59.

While Alvin’s name might not be familiar to most people, his movie posters and art have been an integral part of popular movie campaigns for the last 35 years, starting with Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles, and continuing with E.T., Blade Runner, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and so many more famous posters.

Alvin created posters, art, and concept designs for projects by directors Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Blake Edwards, Mel Brooks and Ridley Scott, and his works were used for the Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean franchises as well as for Disney studios (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin), including last year’s Enchanted.

See the John Alvin Gallery for more of his incredible movie posters, and see below for his full obit.

IRVINE, Calif., Feb. 7 — Craig Kausen, President of Linda Jones Enterprises, Inc. announced today that renowned movie poster artist, John Alvin, passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, February 6th. He was 59.

Considered the pre-eminent movie campaign artist of the past 35 years, Alvin’s career began in 1974 with his creation of the iconic movie poster for Mel Brook’s “Blazing Saddles.” He most recently contributed design ideas for the campaign for Disney Studio’s “Enchanted.” In a career that encompassed multiple projects for such directors as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Blake Edwards, Mel Brooks and Ridley Scott, Alvin was considered by many studios as the go-to artist for movie poster and campaign art. John Alvin said that his work “created the promise of a great experience” and in that he never failed.

Alvin and his wife, Andrea, had recently relocated to New York’s Hudson Valley from Los Angeles in order to be closer to their daughter and only child, Farah, a Broadway actress. John Alvin said that as a child he eagerly anticipated the arrival of the Sunday paper so that he could peruse the ads for the new movies playing at the local theaters. He was enamored with the magic of film at an early age and would create art inspired largely by his love of film. That passion led him to the Art Center College of Design where he met his wife, Andrea (also a student at Art Center) from which he graduated in the early 1970s.

His big break came with the job to create the movie poster for Mel Brook’s “Blazing Saddles” in 1974. This campaign led to Alvin creating the images for numerous other Brook’s films including “Young Frankenstein.” His prominence in this medium was soon after established with his creation of the movie posters for Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner,” Steven Spielberg’s “E.T. — The Extra-Terrestrial” and Blake Edward’s “Victor/Victoria.” Not only did Alvin create the movie posters for those particular films, but he also created many subsequent iconic film posters. In all, Alvin created the posters for over 135 movies in a 35 year career. He is considered to be an innovator in this genre.

Alvin’s work is currently represented in several art galleries nationwide where his original paintings, drawings and limited edition fine art reproductions are displayed. In his recent work, he continued to create iconic images for contemporary films like the Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean series.


  1. This sucks too!!!

    Comment by Jerry — February 11, 2008 @ 11:23 am

  2. Two great losses. Sad day.

    Comment by Jerry — February 11, 2008 @ 11:23 am

  3. There are always people who will argue that commercial illustration is not “true art.”
    But this is true: the art I have MOST enjoyed in my life has been from comic books; album covers, and movie/rock posters.
    Mr. Alvin’s “E.T.” poster is a CLASSIC — both simple and evocative.
    His work will be missed….

    Comment by T.E. Pouncey — February 12, 2008 @ 9:23 am

  4. […] prolific poster artist of many films including The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, has died of a heart attack at age 59. More details, plus a link to a gallery of his poster art at geeksofdoom.com. […]

    Pingback by theonering.net — February 16, 2008 @ 12:24 pm

  5. It’s really sad to know about John Alvin. I have really heard so much about him. And I heard the information of his death. The post information really discloses the best of incredibility of John Alvin about movie poster. He was extremely one of the great artist.

    Comment by Anonymous — July 9, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

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Topics: Art, Movies, News, Obit
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