Wednesday, March 08, 2023

'Olivia' Creator and Stage Designer Ian Falconer Is Dead at 63

NPR reports that Ian Falconer, best known as the illustrator and author of the beloved "Olivia" children's book series about a spry and smart young pig, died on Tuesday in Rowayton, Conn. 

The author, illustrator, theatrical set and costume designer was 63 years old. 

Initially created as a Christmas gift in 1996 for Falconer's then 3-year-old niece, Olivia, the first "Olivia" book was published in 2000. The author went on to illustrate and write seven sequels, culminating with "Olivia the Spy" in 2017. The series has sold more than 10 million copies, stayed on the New York Times Bestseller List for over a year, and won numerous awards. 

In 1996, Falconer started illustrating covers for The New Yorker. He produced 30 magazine covers over his career. It was this work that first caught the eye of Anne Schwartz, then a children's book publisher at Simon & Schuster. In an interview with NPR, Schwartz said she planned to commission Falconer to illustrate another author's book project, but he was more interested in showing her what was then the 100-page draft of "Olivia."

His death has been reported as being of "natural causes" -- at the same age Irene Cara died, which also raised my eyes. (Is everyone I know on the brink of expiration?) 

Condolences to those who knew and loved him, including the great Vito Russo and my pal Nora Burns, whose posts you can read BELOW.

No comments: