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Dick Zimmerman – Artist to the Stars

Posted by Levine Communications Office on October 12, 2011


From the time he was seven years old Dick Zimmerman knew what he wanted to do…paint; but he didn’t want to paint just anything, Dick wanted to pain portraits. So Dick worked and studied on his craft earning a Bachelor’s degree from New Yor University and a Master’s degree at the Brooklyn Museum.

But at least for a time Dick’s path took a bit ofa turn; still working with people, he began a career as a photographer. Dick photographed fashion models, celebritites, and album covers. One such album cover belongs to one of the most popular and top selling albums in history – “Thriller” by Michael Jackson. But for Dick the story does not end there. In preparation for the photo shoot Dick had a collection of various costumes and outfits for Michael to choose from; however, Michael was not totally satisfied with the choices…until he saw the suit Dick was wearing. Since Michael and Dick were of similar size Dick loaned his suit to Michael and the white suited Jackson became the cover for the “Thriller” album. When he saw all of the photos that Dick had taken, Michael could not decide which one to use so he enlisted the help of Quincy Jones who pointed to the photo that would adorn the album cover in a matter of seconds. That photo shoot was the beginning of a 12 year relationship between Michael and Dick. A short time after the album’s release, Michael weaved his way through a restaurant to thank Dick for the album cover. When Michael married Lisa Marie Presley it was Dick who shot the photos and when Steven Spielberg hired Michael for his ET project, Michael insisted Dick also be hired for the photo work.

Tom Selleck has appeared in a number of films and television shows, one of the most famous being “Magnum PI”. Dick was hired to create what would become a post of Selleck; the poster was shot at Selleck’s Hawaii home and became one of the top selling posters.

Dick was chosen to shoot the portraits for Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman’s wedding which was a Christmas wedding in Telluride, Colorado. While decorating the tree they noticed Cruise was missing. He was discovered outside in subzero temperatures wearing a flannel shirt and no coat shoveling snow to free the car of a trapped woman. While the wedding and shoot went off flawlessly, the return home did not. The plane carrying Cruise, Dick, Dick’s assistant, and four other passengers filled with smoke and the pilots were declaring an emergency radioing a Mayday. The plane landed safely on a deserted airstrip. It was discovered the problem was pilot error when they failed to release engine pressure upon landing the plane.

In 1991, Dick returned to his first love of portrait painting. Over his career Dick Zimmerman has created over 600 commissions for some of the best known celebrities in the world that include the fiftieth wedding anniversary portraits for Salvador Dali and his wife Gala.

Dick’s client list reads like a Who’s Who and include Kristy Alley, June Allison, Pamela Anderson, Christina Aguilera, Burt Bacharach, Scott Baio, Linda Blair, Josh Brolin, Mel Brooks, George Carlin, Stockard Channing, Joan Collins, Chick Corea, Billy Dee Williams, Patti Duke Aston, Morgan Fairchild, Farrah Fawcett, Eddie Fisher, Jane Fonda, Lou Gossett Jr., Wayne Gretsky, Dorothy Hamil, David Hasselhoff, Charlton Heston, Billy Idol, Janet and LaToya Jackson, Sebastian Janikowski, Don Johnson, Sir Tom Jones, Lorenzo Lamas, Diane Lane, Tommy LaSorda, Huey Lewis, Heather Locklear, Barbara Mandrell, Donna Mills, Dudley Moore, Paul Newman, Tony Orlando, Dolly Parton, Victoria Principal, Christopher Reeve, John Ritter, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jane Seymour, William Shatner, Jaclyn Smith, Aaron and Tori Spelling, Donna Summer, Randy Travis, John Travolta and Kelly Preston, Tanya Tucker, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mary Tyler Moore, Blair Underwood, Robert Wagner, Barbara Walters, Robin Williams, Edgar Winter, and Pia Zadora to name a few.

Currently Dick is working on a series of 10 portraits of Marilyn Monroe. To date two of the portraits have been completed and each contains $40,000 in jewels. Dick has studios in Los Angeles and Tampa.

With hard word, determination, and education Dick Zimmerman has parlayed a chilhood dream into a life long passion fit for any Hollywood movie.


One Response to “Dick Zimmerman – Artist to the Stars”

  1. Frances Ghodsi said

    This is an awesome article Dick. We met in CW, FL in 1992 or 93 I believe and your art was exceptional even then! Good on you.


    Frances ‘Cheska’Ghodsi

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