John Alvin


Irvine, CA—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. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Food Bank Association of New York State, 235 Lark Street, Albany, NY 12210 or to your local Food Bank Association.

John Alvin Biography Portrait
John Alvin

“Creating the promise of a great experience” is how John Alvin describes his role as the preeminent designer and illustrator of cinema art in the entertainment industry today. In a business where you are only as good as your last job, Alvin is prolific. He has designed and illustrated some of the world’s most widely recognizable movie art.

Of the more than 120 film campaigns he has created, ‘E.T. : The Extra-Terrestrial’ is the most satisfying to Alvin, and appropriately so, as the movie is one of the most successful in cinema history. In addition to receiving the Hollywood Reporter Key Art Awards’ grand prize, Alvin’s E.T. was the only movie art ever to be honored with the Saturn Award from The Academy of Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Films.

John's Empire: J ohn Alvin with Star Wars Cosplayers
John’s Empire: J ohn Alvin with Star Wars Cosplayers

Alvin has also produced many special works for Lucasfilm Ltd.’s Star Wars phenomenon. His Star Wars Concert and Star Wars Tenth Anniversary poster are among the most collectible Star Wars art in the market today. Additionally, The Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C., exhibited Alvin’s ‘The Phantom of the Paradise’ as one of the best posters of the 20th Century.

The ability to infuse art with feeling was one reason Disney wanted Alvin for The Lion King and the “adult campaigns” for many Disney animated classics. The adult campaign will usually be more elegant, more symbolic, and in Alvin’s masterful hands, imbued with a moody, almost magical aura. “His work inspires us,” say the Disney marketing execs. “Alvin brings emotion into his artwork that can only be captured in an illustration. We call it ‘Alvinizing’.”

Alvin acquired a full array of artist’s skills and techniques as a student of the distinguished Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. Soon thereafter, in 1974, he got his chance to put his love of entertainment art and his artist training to work by creating the campaign art for Mel Brook’s ‘Blazing Saddles’. Looking back, Alvin is surprised at times to realize that he’s been creating cinema art for more than twenty-five years.

John Alvin with Andrea Alvin with the ArtInsights family
John Alvin with Andrea Alvin with the ArtInsights family

Alvin has developed and maintained a very loyal following among collectors of cinema art, making his original art and signed reproductions much sought after and treasured pieces of movie memorabilia. Truly, John Alvin belongs to a very special and very short list of cinema art masters whose works have become icons in Hollywood’s rich and colorful history. Most recently, John has been commissioned by Disney to create interpretive images for their fine art program, and he has been chosen as both the official fine artist for the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the official poster artist for the 30th anniversary Star Wars Celebration in 2007. Clearly at the top of his game, John Alvin continues to increase the number of his admirers and collectors, not only as they look back on his substantial body of work, but also as they look to newest interpretive cinema art.

John is married to the lovely and talented fine artist Andrea Alvin, and is the proud father of Farah Alvin, star of the Broadway stage. Another very important member of the family is John’s dog Milo who enjoys his Upstate New York acreage as he patrols the perimeter all the while never parting company with the seriously loud and obnoxious squeaky spiny ball, red variant.

Here is a fairly comprehensive list of movie campaigns and posters worked on by John Alvin:

  • Anchor Bay Ent – Tai-Pan
  • Arthur II
  • Artisan Ent – The Fabulous Baker Boys
  • Buena Vista Home Ent – Earnest Scared Stupid
  • Buena Vista Home Ent – Mr. Destiny
  • Columbia Tristar – Bite The Bullit
  • Columbia Tristar – By The Sword
  • Columbia Tristar – Hanover Street
  • Columbia Tristar – Hook
  • Columbia Tristar – Lawrence Of Arabia
  • Columbia Tristar – Old Gringo
  • Columbia Tristar – Flatliners
  • Disney – Aladdin
  • Disney – Aladdin (European)
  • Disney – Aladdin (Japanese)
  • Disney – Arachnophobia
  • Disney – Beauty And The Beast
  • Disney – Big Wednesday
  • Disney – Hercules (Japanese)
  • Disney – Mulan ( Japanese)
  • Disney – Newsies
  • Disney – Pinocchio
  • Disney – Rescuers Down Under
  • Disney – Shipwrecked
  • Disney – Snow White
  • Disney – Tall Tale
  • Disney – The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (European)
  • Disney – The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (Japanese)
  • Disney – The Lion King
  • Disney – The Little Mermaid
  • Disney – The Three Muskateers
  • Fox Home Ent – Mother, Jugs, And Speed
  • Fox Home Ent – Raw Deal
  • Fox Home Ent – The Verdict
  • Fox Home Ent – Thumbelina
  • Fox Home Entertainment -Dying Young
  • Image Ent – Short Circuit
  • Image Ent – The Twilight Zone
  • Lisa
  • Metro Goldwyn Mayer – Rainman
  • Metro Goldwyn Mayer -Texasville
  • Mgm – Betrayed
  • Mgm – City Slickers
  • Mgm – Fritz The Cat
  • Mgm – Leviathan
  • Mgm – Losin’ It
  • Mgm – Rancho Deluxe
  • Mgm – Red Dawn
  • Mgm – Running Scared
  • Mgm – Solarbabies
  • Mgm – Spaceballs
  • Mgm – The Princess Bride
  • Mgm – Young Frankenstein
  • Nickel Ride
  • North
  • Paramount Home Video – Star Trek Vi: The Undiscovered Country
  • Paramount Studios – The Golden Child
  • Royal Flash
  • Serial
  • Sherlock Holmes Smarter Brother
  • Smile
  • Twentieth Century Fox – Phantom Of The Paradise
  • Twentieth Century Fox – Star Wars: The Concerts
  • Twentieth Century Fox – The Turning Point
  • Twentieth Century Fox – Star Wars 10th Anniversary
  • Twentieth Century Fox -Project X
  • Twentieth Century Fox -Rhinestone
  • Twentieth Century Fox Silent Movie
  • Twentieth Century Fox -Willow
  • Twentieth Century Fox – Alien (15th Anniversary)
  • Twentieth Century Fox – High Anxiety
  • Twentieth Century Fox -History Of The World Part 1
  • Twentieth Century Fox -Cocoon
  • Twentieth Century Fox -Cocoon The Return
  • Twentieth Century Fox -Conrack
  • Umvd – Legend
  • Umvd – Melvin And Howard
  • Universal Studios – Always
  • Universal Studios – Cape Fear
  • Universal Studios – Darkman
  • Universal Studios – E.T.
  • Universal Studios – E.T. (Advance)
  • Universal Studios – E.T. (Re-Release)
  • Universal Studios – The Milagro Beanfield War
  • Vestron Video – Ironweed
  • Warner Home Video – Cats Don’t Dance
  • Warner Home Video – Empire Of The Sun
  • Warner Home Video – My Favorite Year
  • Warner Home Video – S.O.B.
  • Warner Home Video – Christopher Columbus: The Discovery
  • Warner Home Video – Joe Vs. The Volcano
  • Warner Home Video – Gremlins
  • Warner Home Video – Innerspace
  • Warner Home Video – Victor/Victoria
  • Warner Studio – Mosquito Coast
  • Warner Studio – That’s Dancing!
  • Warner Studio – The Color Purple
  • Warner Studios – 10
  • Warner Studios – Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls
  • Warner Studios – Batman Returns
  • Warner Studios – Blade Runner
  • Warner Studios – Blazing Saddles
  • Warner Studios – Cobra
  • Warner Studios – Deal Of The Century
  • Warner Studios – Innocent Blood
  • Warner Studios – New Jack City
  • Warner Studios – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure
  • Warner Studios – Quest For Camelot
  • Warner Studios – Spies Like Us
  • Warner Studios – The Frisco Kid
  • Warner Studios – The Goonies
  • Warner Studios – The Lost Boys
  • Warner Studios – The Nutcracker Prince
  • Warner Studios – Under Siege (European)