Biography of Stan Lee
Stan Lee is an American writer and creator of popular characters in the fantasy universe of Marvel comics, producer and actor. Hulk and Spider-Man, Iron Man and X-Men were invented by him in a creative alliance with artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko and embodied in comics, and played in films by the most famous actors in Hollywood.
In all Marvel film projects, Stan appeared with a cameo. Honored with the National American Medal of Artistic Achievement and the Saturn Award for Career Achievement.
Childhood, youth, family
Stanley Martin Lieber was born in Manhattan in the winter of 1922 to Romanian immigrants Jacob Aaron Lieber and Celia Solomon. My father was a good cutter, and as long as there was enough work, he provided for his family. But when the times of the Great Depression came in America, the family became sorely lacking money – the Liebers had to move to the Bronx and settle in a cheaper apartment.
Stan Lee with his parents and younger brother
Then, in 1931, Stanley had a younger brother, Larry, and the boy himself went to the DeWitt Clinton school. In high school, Stanley started working after school to help his family. He became engaged in the delivery of food to offices, selling subscriptions to print publications and writing press releases.
Stan Lee in his youth
The only entertainment and recreation for the boy was reading. He read literally everything that came to hand, and when Stanley graduated, he tried to get a job in a publishing house. By applying to the publishing company Timely Comic. Its founder was Martin Goodman, and the foundation of the company is often associated with the beginning of the history of Marvel – it was here that the first comics were produced and the first heroes of the famous universe were created.
Young Stan Lee
When applying to Timely Comic, Stan had little hope of getting the job. However, he still managed to get a job as an assistant comic book creator. Lee accepted new works and edited them. In those days, this was considered the lowest sphere of the publishing business, since no one took comics seriously.
When the young man was 17 years old, Martin offered him a job as a substitute editor for a while until he found a suitable candidate to replace Stan on a permanent basis. Remembering this, Stanley joked that Goodman simply forgot that he needed to be replaced, because he remained in the editor’s chair until it was time to join the army – World War II broke out.
Stanley served in the army until the fall of 1945, but he never went to the front. Lee was a soldier on the home front, first repairing telegraph poles, and then he was transferred to a more “creative” department, where he wrote scripts for training films. At the end of his service, he returned to Goodman’s publishing company.
Stan Lee at the beginning of his career
The first character that Stanley came up with was Captain America, a patriotic hero who immediately fell in love with the inhabitants of the country, so in need of faith in good during the war. The comic book was published in 1941, after which the screenwriter decided to take a pseudonym for himself, and leave his real name for the “future serious novel”, and so he became Stan Lee. While Stan was editor, he was responsible for every story he either made up himself or bought from others.
Stan Lee’s first creation – Captain America
At the same time, Stan was both the author and art director, since all the drawings had to correspond to an invented story, the purpose of which was to enhance the action of the picture. At that time, under the leadership of Timely Comic, stories were published about the now forgotten heroes – Yulia, Miss America, Vision and Angel.
Rise of the Marvel Universe
Until the beginning of the 60s, the publisher’s policy regarding comics was lined up according to all the newfangled trends. If people were interested in westerns, Lee would give them out by the dozen, and if there was a rise in interest in romantic stories, Stan Lee would give them to people. This was followed by military magazines, crime stories, horror films and cartoon characters. The publishing house was the usual production of popular trends.
Once Stan could not stand it and told his wife that he would leave this cycle, because he had no future in it. However, he was immediately offered a promotion, and several new magazines were put into production. Noticing a small prospect in further work in the publishing house, Lee still stayed.
Streaming story production and publisher demands weighed heavily on Stan Lee
After working at the alma mater for several more years, Stan Lee faced new difficulties – he began to be weighed down by the demands of publishers. Stan wanted to implement new ideas, and Martin Goodman insisted on simplified versions of stories aimed at very young or narrow-minded readers. The screenwriter became incredibly bored – the 60s were already thundering on the street, and he kept running in a vicious circle. In an interview, Stan recalled how a turning point came in his career, and he wrote the story not for consumer goods, but as he himself wanted:
“It happened at the time when my publisher was playing golf with Jack Leibovitz, one of the bosses of DC Comics, which was then called National Comics. Jack told him that they have a Justice League magazine, which is about a superhero team and sells well. So Martin came to me and said, “Hey Stan… Why don’t you make a superhero team?”
Lee made the Fantastic Four, which was completely atypical for those times. The scriptwriter supplemented the company of the hero, the heroine and her brother with a monstrous guy, whom he called the Creature. Stan wrote the story with realistic dialogue and didn’t dress up the characters in flashy costumes.
Fantastic Four Stan Lee
As soon as the comic came out, for the first time in many years, letters of thanks and comments, discussions and recommendations began to come to the publishing house – Lee was delighted with the established contact with readers and began to work further. Then, arguing with Goodman, Stan, against the wishes of the publisher, wrote the story of Spider-Man (the artist was Steve Ditko) and placed the new superhero on the cover of the magazine. This issue brought the publisher the largest profit in many years. From that moment on, Martin took on faith all the ideas with which Lee came to him.
Stan Lee colleague Steve Ditko
Stan stopped thinking about leaving the publishing house, creating comics with a group of like-minded people. In the late 60s, the X-Men saw the light, Hulk and Daredevil appeared, followed by Doctor Strange, Thor and other superheroes. Stan Lee’s name became recognizable, and he was appointed creative director of Marvel Comics, which bought the animation studio at the time. Under the leadership of Stan Lee, animated superhero series began to be produced. At the same time, Stanley Lieber officially changed his name to Stan Lee.
In addition to comics, Stan Lee began to create animated series
In the early 1970s, Stan became a publisher himself. He assembled a team of writers, artists and editors to do the bulk of the work, and he began to travel around America and around the world with lectures on comics and the Marvel company, of which he had already become president. For ten years, Stan visited almost all American colleges and schools, as well as educational institutions in England and Canada. He answered numerous questions from young people, explained the company’s concepts, communicated with skeptics and adherents of the fantastic universe.
Having staked on his favorite business, Stan Lee became the president of the Marvel company
In simple, accessible words, Lee talked about how he used to be ashamed of being a comic book creator, while others became doctors, builders, teachers. However, over time, he began to understand that entertainment is a very important part of people’s lives, without which they would plunge into the deepest depression. Stan explained to listeners that the heroes of the Marvel universe are not just entertainment.
Each of the heroes is a person with his own character, desires, shortcomings, soul.
Superheroes, created by Stan and his colleagues, bring to the world reflections on goodness and its opposition to evil. For example, Spider-Man enters the fight against drugs, and the X-Men – with the common misconception “to be unusual is to be an outcast.” In addition, Stan has always resented the idea that comics are created only for a children’s audience. In his understanding, this kind of art is intended for all people, even for those who prefer classical literature.
Stan Lee in cinema
In the 1980s, Stan became director of film and television projects at Marvel Studios. Lee went on to produce each of these films and quickly established a tradition of making cameo appearances.
The first Marvel movie that Stan appeared in was The Incredible Hulk Trial, where he played a juror in court. Lee also enjoyed taking part in the filming, playing a cameo. Stan also starred in X-Men (2000) and Spider-Man (2002), as well as in many other films.
Guardians of the Galaxy director and writer James Gunn, Stan Lee and Zoe Saldana
In addition to the projects of the Marvel company, Stan also appeared in third-party films, for example, in The Simpsons and Supermarket Party People. In the TV series “The Big Bang Theory” he devoted a whole series. Already at a very respectable age, Stanley still pleased with his presence on the set of the leading actors and the audience.
In the last years of his life, Lee appeared in the roles of Everett Ross in Black Panther (2018), a bus driver in The Avengers. Infinity War” (2018), costume seller in the animated film “Spider-Man. Through the Universes.
The comic book genius’ last role was as a car driver in The Avengers. Final (2019). In total, there are almost eighty works in Lee’s filmography. After the release of each new tape “Marvel” Stan never refused interviews and appeared at public events.
Stan Lee’s personal life
Stan Lee married Joan Clayton Buckock in 1947. In his interviews, the man did not talk about his personal life, but noted that he was very lucky with Joan.
Stan Lee and his wife Joan
In 1950, their daughter Joan Celia was born. Three years later, the couple had a second girl. The child died three days after birth. They only managed to give her a name – Jan. There were no more children in the family.
Stan Lee with daughter Celia
Stan lived in New York with his wife and daughter, moving from time to time to one area or another. In the 80s, the Lee family bought their own house in West Hollywood, where they settled.
Stan and Joan lived together for almost seventy years. In 2017, Stan’s wife died at the age of 93 from a stroke. After mourning the death of his wife, Lee threw himself into work on creating a new character.
Stan Lee and his wife Joan in old age
Despite the fact that in the last years before his own death he could not see well and could not write himself, his daughter helped him. Together they created a new superhero called Dirt Man. Stan made the last corrective changes in the last days of his life.
In 2010, the health of the legendary comic book creator began to deteriorate rapidly. Two years later, he was fitted with a pacemaker, and in 2016, Stan contracted pneumonia, which caused almost complete loss of vision.
When Lee’s condition became completely critical, his daughter read to him his favorite William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens, fantasy novels and adventure literature.
After the death of his wife, Lee lived for another year, after which he died at the age of 95 in the fall of 2018. The cause of the heart is chronic heart failure.
memory of a genius
In memory of Joan’s father, Celia has decided to complete the Dirt Man project and is even going to become a producer of a feature film. The fantastic stories created by her father made it possible to extend Stan Lee’s screen life.
Stan Lee’s legacy will live on forever – in movies, games, comics and the hearts of fans
In addition, shortly before his death, he made several cameos for future films about movie characters in the Marvel universe. And publishing house DC has planned to publish a collection of all the stories of the screenwriter.