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Virgil Finlay

Self-portrait 1933

Virgil Warden Finlay was one of the great science-fiction and fantasy pulp magazine illustrators of the mid-twentieth century. He was born in Rochester, New York in 1914... besides writing poetry and drawing pictures he was a star athlete during his high school years. He discovered science-fiction with Amazing Stories in 1927 and horror and fantasy a year later in Weird Tales. In 1935 he sent six unsolicited drawings to Farnsworth Wright, the editor of Weird Tales, and in the December issue four were used.

Weird Tales December 1935

Virgil Finlay was a combat veteran of World War II, having served in the U.S. Army during the Pacific campaign from 1943 to the end of the war... his experiences, culminating at Okinawa, caused him to suffer from recurring, violent nightmares. He lived in Brooklyn, New York until 1948, when he moved to Long Island with his wife and daughter.

His works appeared in many pulp magazines, including Startling Stories, Thrilling Wonder Stories, Amazing Stories, Fantastic Adventures, and Famous Fantastic Mysteries. He won a Hugo Award in 1953 for best interior illustrator and a Retrospective Hugo (in 1996) for best professional artist of 1946. Virgil Finlay died of cancer in 1971.

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