Sculptor Robert Graham dies at age 70

Sunday, December 28, 2008 | 7:41 p.m. CST; updated 9:18 p.m. CST, Sunday, December 28, 2008
Sculptor Robert Graham is shown in this 2006 photo with his wife, actress Anjelica Huston, at the 58th Annual Directors Guild Awards in Los Angeles. Graham, whose massive bronze works mark civic monuments across America, died Saturday.

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Sculptor Robert Graham, whose massive bronze works mark civic monuments across America, including the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, has died at 70.

Graham, who had been ailing, died Saturday at the Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital with his family at his side, including his wife, Academy Award-winning actress Anjelica Huston, the governor's office confirmed.

"Robert was an amazing sculptor who forever shaped the presence of sculpture art throughout California and the world. His work was truly influential, and he will forever remain an icon in this state," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement. He said he and his wife, Maria Shriver, were deeply saddened by Graham's death.

In Washington, Graham's bronze sculptures mark the Roosevelt memorial, where bronze panels symbolize the 54 social programs initiated under the president's New Deal in the 1930s. Graham also created the life-size, bronze figure of President Roosevelt in his wheelchair at the entrance.

In Detroit, Graham's Joe Louis Memorial honors the boxer with a 24-foot bronze monument in the shape of a massive fist and forearm suspended from a pyramid structure.

His 18-foot monument to jazz great Charlie Parker, depicting the musician's head above the words "Bird Lives," is in Kansas City.

In New York City's Central Park, Graham's Duke Ellington Memorial stands 30 feet high, with three columns topped with the muses holding up an 8-foot figure of the musician next to a piano.

Graham designed a number of prominent works in Los Angeles, including the "Great Bronze Doors" of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. The 25-ton entryway was completed over five years by about 150 artists.

Another work in Los Angeles is "Olympic Gateway," comprising the headless figures of a muscle-bound man and woman. It marks the entryway to the Memorial Coliseum and honors the 1984 Olympics.

Earlier this month, Graham was inducted into the California Museum's California Hall of Fame.

Graham, born in Mexico City in 1938, was educated at San Jose State College and the San Francisco Art Institute.

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.