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Fantasy artist Frank Frazetta, influential illustrator; at 82

Mr. Frazetta created illustrations for books, comic books, album covers, and movie posters. Mr. Frazetta created illustrations for books, comic books, album covers, and movie posters. (File/ Associated Press/ 1994)
By Maryclaire Dale
Associated Press / May 11, 2010

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PHILADELPHIA — Pioneering fantasy artist Frank Frazetta died yesterday in a Fort Myers, Fla., hospital, a manager said. He was 82.

Mr. Frazetta had been out to dinner with his daughters Sunday, but suffered a stroke at his Boca Grande home later that night and was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital, manager Rob Pistella said. A hospital spokeswoman confirmed the death, as did his daughter, Heidi Frazetta Grabin.

“He’s going to be remembered as the most renowned fantasy illustrator of the 20th century,’’ Pistella said.

Mr. Frazetta created covers and illustrations for more than 150 books and comic books, along with album covers, movie posters, and original paintings. His illustrations of Conan the Barbarian, Tarzan, Vampirella, and other characters influenced many artists.

His children have fought over an estate estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars, filing lawsuits in Pennsylvania and Florida.

His son, Alfonso Frank Frazetta, 52, was charged in December with using a backhoe to break into the artist’s museum in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains and trying to remove 90 paintings insured for $20 million. The charges were dropped late last month after two days of mediation produced a truce.

“It is resolved, but there’s always new issues that can come out,’’ Heidi Frazetta Grabin said.

Mr. Frazetta had a history of strokes, but appeared well and was still painting, she and Pistella said.

Grabin and her sister, Holly Frazetta Taylor, dined out with their father Sunday to celebrate Mother’s Day, then walked with him on Englewood Beach.

“We had a lovely time, and he just talked about how beautiful the sunset was and how his next studio was going to have windows around it overlooking the Gulf,’’ Grabin said.

A lawsuit Alfonso Frank Frazetta had filed in Florida alleged that his sisters and brother Billy were plotting to wrest control of the family business and fortune from him after their mother died in July 2009.