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Dan Goozée 1943 – 2024

One of my dearest of friends, the enormously talented painter and illustrator Dan Goozée, has passed away.

I first met Dan at Seiniger & Associates, the hottest movie poster advertising company in town. I guess that Seiniger was responsible for about 80% of all the movie poster art that was being done at the time. Dan was working constantly for Seiniger, as well as for Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI).

We only ever collaborated twice in regards to movie posters. Dan painted the poster for the James Bond movie Octopussy. I designed the iconic title lettering. When Dan got the job to illustrate the poster for The Land Before Time, he called me in to check on his dinosaurs –– especially the Tyrannosaurus rex. I also helped out by loaning Dan a three feet long Tyrannosaurus rex model I had lying around the house so that he could pose it for the poster art.

Among many, many others, Dan painted movie posters for The Mission, Star Wars, Moonraker, A View to a Kill, Crocodile Dundee, Clash of the Titans, Superman IV and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

My favorite poster of Dan’s was the one he did for Streets of Fire. He did it in a kind of bold Russian agit-prop style. In my not-so humble opinion, I preferred Dan’s teaser sheet, when the art was only red, black and white. The studio insisted that Dan add more color to the piece.

When I was working as a full-time consultant, I got to hire Dan for a WDI project that I was heading. It was a second gate Tokyo Disneyland. After describing what I wanted from Dan, I said, “Charge whatever you think is fair. I think it would be demeaning to both of us if we started arguing about money. Whatever you charge will be worth it. I want the best working on my project,” I said, “and Dan, you’re the best of the best.”

Dan had an amazing reputation at WDI. He was the guy you called if you wanted a big, dramatic and impressive painting of a new Disney property but the guy in charge had no clue as to the substance of such a job, no idea whatsoever. Dan would get right to work. There were balloons, fireworks, searchlights, dramatic lighting and lots of color. Dan’s painting fooled the higher ups into thinking there was a grand idea behind this incredible imagery –– when there wasn’t any at all.

When painter Peter Adams was offered the job of taking over the California Art Club (the oldest art organization west of the Mississippi), he agreed to do so if he was granted two conditions.

Number One: Peter had full dictatorial powers as president; and, Number Two: Dan Goozée and William Stout were immediately invited into the club and instantly made Signature Members.

And that’s what happened.

Peter turned out to be a great, visionary and benevolent dictator who, with his wife Elaine, in short time completely transformed the CAC into one of the most vital art organizations in the world.

Dan and I got deeply involved in the CAC. We did shows together, paint-outs together, panels and lectures. We made lots of recommendations and suggestions that we thought would enhance the club.

Dan never stopped trying to learn and get better as an artist. Even though Dan was at the peak of his powers, he took a class with legendary painter Richard Schmid. He came to my Sunday figure drawing workshop hundreds of times, despite a long drive. Dan was generous. If it was our model’s birthday, he would give the model a beautiful drawing he had done of her. He once gave me an incredible set of storyboards by Harlan Fraser for the biblical epic Quo Vadis.

Sometimes we would attend out-of-town exhibitions together. For example, we once drove to Palm Springs together to see a magnificent Sydney Laurence exhibition at the Palm Springs Art Museum.

I am going to miss Dan’s dedication, his sharing new works of art, his dry sense of humor, his vast talent, his thoughtfulness, but, most of all, his good cheer and dear friendship.

See you on the other side, amigo!