Paul Crifo, Noted Movie Poster Designer, Dies at 98

Paul Crifo, a poster designer known for creating promotional images for “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and 1974’s “The Great Gatsby,” has died at the age of 98 of natural causes.

By the end of his career, Crifo took part in more than 400 motion picture advertising campaigns. He began working as an artist’s apprentice but soon secured a job as an in-house designer for 20th Century Fox Films.

When Crifo joined Diener Hauser Bates in the 1950s, he had been hired with the title of designer. Over his time with Manhattan poster advertising company, he worked his way to the position of senior art director, vice president.

Crifo went on to help design over 120 posters, including 45 film posters he created on his own. His solo-designed projects include “Play It Again, Sam,” “In the Heat of the Night,” “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and “The Producers.” He also collaborated on multiple projects and has uncredited work on posters for four films in the “James Bond” franchise.

MGM, Fox, Paramount, various Broadway productions and independent film companies enlisted Crifo and Diener Hauser Bates to create print campaigns.

The designer and illustrator earned recognition for his work by the Society of Illustrators, the Advertising Club of New York and more. The Hollywood Reporter also honored Crifo in 2007 at the Key Art Awards in Los Angeles for his contributions to poster design in the film industry.

Most recently, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences displayed some of Crifo’s work as part of an “Art of the Movie Poster” exhibition in 2009.

Crifo studied illustration at Pratt University and went on to work on design from 1942 to 1986.

He is survived by his two sons, Peter and Kevin Crifo.

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