versatility goes on to the field of music, where talent and encouragement,
in the form of a scholarship led him to aspire to a concert violinist career.
"I still fiddle with the fiddle," he says, "but my new love, the Black
Cat, is a rather jealous creature." Remarking on the split-personality
of Hollywood's most glamorous movie-detective star, Elias asserts, "Give
me Linda Turner... sweet and clinging for a real life companion, but the
adventurer in me can't help but get a bang out of the more dynamic side
of her character."
Seated in front of his drawing board,
pencils sharpened, brushes in readiness, favorite brand of cigarettes nearby,
radio softly playing classical music, Lee (nee Leopold) starts in by scribbling,
erasing, scribbling, erasing. A few hours later, the Black Cat in her latest
dare-devil adventure has emerged. He prefers working late at night, believes
it's more conducive to thinking and usually works right through until eight
or nine in the morning.
fiend for authenticity, Elias uses a mirror to capture gestures, enacts
all the judo stunts he illustrates, and swears by their credibility. He
is a conscientious craftsman, who worries over items such as faithfully
reproducing latest car models, Hollywood movie star caricatures, the type
suit Linda Turner's news-hawk boyfriend, Rick Home, should wear. He will
painstakingly spend time to draw a glen-plaid suit pattern line for line.
Leopold "Lee" Elias was born in
Manchester, England on May 21, 1920. Six years later he came to America
with his grandmother and attended school in Brooklyn. He studied music
under the tutorship of Israel Epstein and supported himself by playing
the violin at club dates, recitals and on the radio.
He is 5 ft. 7 in. tall and his 153
pounds fill out a suit nicely. Elias is a natty dresser. He has dark brown
hair, large light blue eyes, which usually are serious. Elias is a serious
fellow. He does not take life lightly. He was married in 1942. When the
first child, a daughter, arrived in 1944, he carefully selected her name
for its monogram value- Adrienne Victoria Elias.
lives in a three-room apartment in Brooklyn, which he calls his "temporary"
home. The clatter of a malicious neighbor upstairs sometimes makes work
very trying. He hopes to have his own home soon. He is a temperamental
artist, whose work has earned the highest respect in the comics magazine
field. In motion pictures, he prefers adventure films. Likes the "blood
and thunder." In person, Elias is very soft-spoken and unassuming. He looks
and acts like none of his belligerent villains.
Modest and sincere in his artistic
endeavors, he enjoys being praised for his
efforts and will listen to criticism with an open mind. He is always bent
on improving the Black Cat art, on introducing new gimmicks and brush techniques.
Every so often he gets together for a duet with a friend who plays the
piano. Aside from the relaxation and enjoyment, these musical evenings
stave off his becoming rusty on the violin. He also paints whenever he
has spare moments; refuses, however, to sell any paintings. "They take
so much effort," he explains, "I feel as though they're my brain children
and should be nurtured at home."
In addition to fathering his comic
strip character Elias finds time for hunting and fishing trips. Like the
Black Cat, his is a constant search for adventure and thrills.