Ed Valigursky, best known for his vivid SF paintings for pulp magazines and paperbacks, died of heart failure at his home in Cape Cod, Florida, on Sunday, 7 September 2009, at the age of 82.
Born Edward I. Valigursky in New Kensington, Pennsylvania, on 16 October 1926, the son of Czechoslovakian immigrants Jacob and Anastasia Valigursky, he used his youthful talent for drawing to entertain his many siblings. After serving with the Navy during World War II (1943-46), he used the GI Bill to study at the Art Institute of Chicago, but—missing his home town—transferred to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.
He began selling whilst still at art school and, after graduating, moved to New York, where most of the major publishers were based. He settled in Wyckoff, New Jersey, and, in the 1950s became an assistant art director at Ziff-Davis under Leo Summers. He produced dozens of science fiction covers from 1951, a prolific artist for Amazing Stories (drawing 49 covers in all) and Fantastic (32) as well as for paperbacks, including a great many covers for the famous Ace Doubles series from 1954 on. Bantam, Ballantine and Time-Life were amongst the publishers to feature his work.
Known for his technical hardware, he would often include robots, rockets and other machines in his work, his excellence in this area leading him to produce several dozens of covers for Popular Science and Popular Mechanics in the 1970s and 1980s. He was also an aviation buff, and produced military and historical illustrations.
His work was exhibited in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Royal Air Force Museum in London. Other works are on permanent display at the Pentagon.
Valigursky is survived by his wife, Rita, and their two children.
A collection of Valigursky's work, Worlds at War, was announced by Ken Steacy Publishing some while back and, as far as I'm aware, is still due to appear.
Obituary: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (20 September).
(* Images from around the net via Google Images.)