Roger Kastel, the American artist behind two of the most iconic film posters in history, Jaws and The Empire Strikes Back, has died. He was 92. Kastel passed away from kidney and heart failure at a hospice facility in Massachusetts according to his wife of 66 years, Grace.
Arguably his most famous creation was the iconic shark and swimmer poster for Jaws. This was a similar design to the image created by Paul Bacon for the front cover of the book on which the movie is based.
Both were based on the opening scene of both the book and the movie. The senior editor of publisher Doubleday likened Bacon’s design to “a penis with teeth” and was apparently never happy with the design, so they commissioned Kastel to create an improved version for a new edition of the book. Universal Studios was so impressed by the work that they bought the rights to use this image as the film’s poster, which is now a merchandising product from lunchboxes to towels.
Kastel also did the poster for The Empire Strikes Back which was said to be inspired by Gone With The Wind and is still considered one of the most influential movie posters ever designed.
Other film posters in Kastel’s portfolio included Michael Crichton’s The Great Train Robbery (1978) and Doctor Faustus (1967). He also did the cover of the first issue of Doc Savage: Man Of Bronze and variations on covers for novels such as Jackie Collins’ Hollywood Wives.
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