attracted a following from around the world, due to his obvious
artistic talents, but also because he had a certain indefinable
charisma, that even in his death, caused a very attractive young
woman, one of the mourners attending his Funeral and Wake, to
announce quite audibly, "What a Hunk"
people liked him and some didn't. Either way the emotion was always
felt strongly and was equally distributed between men and women.
Since I am Mentor's widow, I have chosen to publish stories about
him that are positive and that represent my views. Each Fan's
Story is based upon an affection they felt for him and the admiration
and respect they held for his work. The stories were written by
men and women who wanted to share a personal experience they'd
had with him. Some are amusing. Some are nostalgic. Some are sad.
as time goes on I may decide to include a negative statement or
two, here or there, for the sake of some literary balance. At
this time though, I can't imagine what those statements might
be or who it would be that could possibly express them.
was a charmer.
Self Portrait of Artist
Mentor Huebner (c) 1963
Oil on Canvas 30 x 24
GIRLS ~ MGM
Former President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts
Executive Director Emeritus of the Art Directors Guild
"Oscar” winner for George Cukor’s “My
Artist of the moving image, Mentor Huebner. created on a daily
basis works of fine art that rivaled Rembrandt and all his contemporaries.
Directors, Cinematographers, and Production Designers all used
Mentor's suggestive illustrations of the story being filmed
as conceptual stimulators.
"Mentor Huebner was indeed a man for all seasons, recognized
by the art world as a Master landscape and figure painter and
by the entertainment world as a premier conceptual artist. His
list of credits is extensive and his contribution to the total
look of those productions is a matter of record. Originally,
we met a Chouinard‘s Art Institute* where he was teaching.
Any tribute to him would not be complete without noting his
years of teaching at prestigious art schools and universities
and his ability to pass on to his students the fundamentals
of fine and graphic art."
“Mentor was not only good, he was fast!
"Very early in his career, when we were working at MGM,
I believe it was for the film LES GIRLS, Mentor was given an
assignment and told to “draw it up”. He did the
conceptual drawing in about a half hour and then set it aside
and waited for the next assignment. The chief draftsman came
by, saw Mentor behind the sport section of the L.A. Times and
rushed into my office to tell me he was going to fire Mentor
if I didn't give him something to do. I went to pick up the
first completed sketch and gave Mentor another assignment. I
told him about the chief draftsman and warned him that he had
to look busy even if he had finished the sketch. Once again
he completed the illustration in record time, mounted it and
set it aside, continuing to read the newspaper. The chief draftsman
returned, saw Mentor behind the sport's section, rushed into
my office, repeated what he had already said earlier, but this
time loud enough to hear him in San Pedro and insisted upon
firing Mentor! 'FIRE HIM!' "
“This continued all week. Mentor accomplished multiple,
technically correct, precise, artistic very large sketches ~
daily, all the while appearing to be quite casual. Each one
"The director was sold on the ideas because of Mentor's
drawings. To the chief draftsman this meant nothing! I think
he may have actually even fired Mentor ~ for a few minutes!
I remember, I had to go to the director, George Cukor, to get
everything straightened out. Needless to say Mentor remained
on the production.”
“Mentor refused to merely look busy to placate anyone.
He didn’t feel his job was just to please management,
or the chief draftsman. In time everyone in the industry learned
to accept him, as he was, a Master Illustrator who always exactly
captured the essence of the story being told with his charcoal
renderings and his technical expertise. He went on to become
an Icon in the Motion Picture Industry. He was admired and respected
by all who came to know and work with him.”
“I saw a poem that was written by an anonymous poet many
years ago in the Dear Abby column of the L.A. Times, that I
think is reflects my views and is now appropriate. I feel it
“Do not stand at my grave and weep. I am not there, I
do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond
glints on snow. I am the sunlight on ripened grain. I am the
gentle autumn's rain. When you awaken in the morning hush I
am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft star that shines at night. Do not stand at my
grave and cry, I am not there, I did not die.”
“Mentor was a friend. I miss him. He may have now gone
on to become the ' 'thousand winds that blow', but his works
will be a source of inspiration for all of us for many years
to come I know he's around and always just finishing one conceptual
drawing and waiting to begin another.”
* * *
(Find out more about Gene Allen in our "Featured
Guests ~ Film Makers" column. See a 50 year old demonstration
drawing in the section: "Mentor's Drawings". Mentor
taught Life Drawing Classes at Chouinard for many years, for
fun. His students ages ranged from 17 to 70. Some were novices
and some were professional artists who came from the fields
of fine art, commercial art, and motion picture production.)
January 17, 2006 @ 1:53:36 AM PST Norm Rosen emailed me. He
had just heard of Mentor's passing. Mentor and I had not seen
Norm for several years. We lost contact when Norm moved out
of State. The email was typed in a script font and so it had
a personalized look. The topic in the Subject Box was: REMEMBERING
I found Norm's email to be very sweet and touching and I want
to share some excerpts.
* * *
I'm writing this to you even if its belated. I was shocked to
learn of Mentor's passing. I lost my wife, my beloved Maxine,
Valentines day 2004. It is almost like losing part of your body.
One should never take life for granted; I'm sure you know that.
Mentor was a great artist. I was in his class in the late forties
right after WWII. Life was so laid back then. Maybe it was because
I hung out with artists. But there were no computers too.
I read what you wrote about the students. You were right Louise
when you said after classes at Chouinard Art Institute, his
students, of all ages, 17 to 70, (sometimes there would be 90
or more, at one time) ~ would when the class ended, dive into
the trash cans to retrieve whatever demonstration
drawing Mentor had tossed.
I really can't express it as I would want to... but I do cherish
all the memories of those days. After class, most of us guys,
would either go with Mentor to the gym downtown and spar with
him, or go to some club in the Westlake area to talk, politics
or just bull shit!
During this period I lived at home like a nice N.Y. Jewish kid.
I didn't go to the school of hard knocks that Mentor did. Or
live like an artist like he did.
I tried to get into the Story-board business at the studios;
but wound up as a glorified house painter; a Scenic Artist.
I would sneak about the sets trying to find Mentor during lunch
breaks. Its really funny how the quickly the top brass, would
discover me up in one of the art department offices talking
I soon found out fast that it was verboten! They didn't want
him to waste a minute. He was fast though. Faster then all of
In my wildest dream I never realized the depth of Mentors gift.
One day in the 1950's Mentor painted a portrait of me and another
fellow student. That guy was later killed in a car accident
on the old 101 freeway, just past Westlake Boulevard. Not too
far from where we all hung out.
Mentor was a very fast painter. I watched him as he painted
my portrait in just two -- three hour sessions. I valued this
painting with my very life. Mentor charged the other student
and myself $35.00 each. On today's market I have no idea what
his works are priced at. 1000 times that amount?
I miss all of you very much. Its funny now at 78 I've begun
thinking about so many things from long ago. Oh well I guess
I would like to go back in time.
Hey Woman I admire you for all your doing in memory of Mentor.
Take care of yourself and God Bless.
(I'm saddened to tell you that Norm Rosen died on
02/13-06. Just one month after he had sent the email. I notice
it was two years to the day that his wife Maxine had died. This
email was a sort of a 'goodbye'. )
* Barry Sullivan * Mentor Huebner
President * Actor * Artist
Dublin Stage Actress
"My husband Kevin and I have many warm and loving memories
of Mentor as we knew him for over 40 years. Louise and I were
close and the men came to be good friends. "The Huebners
gave quite a few parties. We all gave parties. And we all of us
went to a lot of parties. It was the start of the Sixties. The
world atmosphere was becoming electric.
"Mentor was always a lot of fun. He had an appealing personality.
His social ease and his sense of devilment were notable. He was
quite entertaining. He was like a stage actor.
in the late fifties when John F. Kennedy was starting to run for
the presidency, Mentor included us in a group he'd invited to
a Democratic fund raiser. It was held in the home of the Helms
family (the magna bakery people) in Los Angeles, California. "
that time Helm's Bakery trucks could be seen all over Los Angeles,
delivering bakery products - door to door. The Antique Guild now
resides in what used to be their main factory outlet on Venice
Boulevard, in Culver City.)
night the Helm's home was crawling with celebrities -- mostly
movie stars. Mentor was very comfortable in that type of an environment.
After all these were his work buddies. At any rate I spotted the
actor Barry Sullivan, and casually remarked to Mentor that he
reminded me of a cousin of mine in Boston.
(to tease me) called out to Barry and at the same time waved him
over to our group. *
Barry, Nuala thinks you're her cousin".
was mortified and quickly explained that indeed he did look like
a cousin who lived in Boston and my grandmother's maiden name
had been Sullivan. Barry laughed and put his arm around my shoulders.
we are cousins Nuala, Boston is my home town."
were both nice guys."
(Barry Sullivan decided to stay with the smaller more intimate
group and he and Kevin and Mentor joked and laughed and exchanged
Irish stories for the rest of the evening.
Although Mentor and Barry acted like long lost Buddies, they had
never worked together on a film, as so many of the others at that
party had. The closest contact they'd had prior to that night,
was that Barry was directed by Vincent Minnelli at Warner Bros,
while on the block buster film: THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, and
Mentor had done conceptual drawings and designs at MGM, for the
block buster film: A STAR IS BORN.
Garland played the lead opposite James Mason and she was married
to Vincent Minnelli. Not much of a connection between Mentor and
Roads - Attraction & Vibes
A Friend with Principles
Artist - Porcelain Painter
of the things that always comes to my mind whenever I think about
Mentor was a particular shortcut * he had recommended to me, and
my second husband Sandy when we left LA to return to Chicago.
had been visiting Mentor and Louise for a couple of weeks. It
was customary for me to always bring my husbands to meet them.
We had of course all gone to Disneyland. At that time I had complained
about certain rides. I never reacted well to heights, or sharp
turns, etc. Mentor didn't seem to pay much attention to my screams.
It could be he hadn't realized I was really frightened. He may
have thought I was only affected on amusement park rides. Maybe
any rate I don't think he knew about how I reacted to heights
and certain types of roads. So when he gave us shortcut tips about
returning home, he never bothered to mention that it would go
through mountains. I think it was just an oversight.
that time it was the middle of summer. Mentor said that in summer
you had to begin the drive at night. Something or other about
the desert and heat. So we began our journey in the middle of
the night. Louise said that's what they always did. She said it
was exhilarating to leave at 3 AM.
we traveled the road through darkness, late at night, I was scared
road was very curvy, very high up, and from the passenger side
it looked like a sheer drop to nowhere.
it was a good shortcut, Sandy liked it, but wow, what a ride!!
still get scared whenever I recall it. It was a terrible experience.
on, after a few years, when I visited them again, I flew in and
traveled alone. When Mentor heard about my second divorce (not
in anyway connected to the harrowing drive), he remarked that
I'd better be careful, or else I would beat his marital record.
I did, sort of. I ended up being married an equal amount of times
as Mentor. (Four). But I divorced four times too. And since he
stayed with Louise until the end he never got divorced more than
three times. So even though we had reached a 'tie' on the marriages,
I beat him at divorces!
had always sensed his energy. When I first met him it was obvious
he had magnetism. You could 'feel' him from across the room. He
had vibes. I also recognized what a private person he seemed to
be. He looked very secretive despite his outgoing nature and joking
around. He projected a lot of physical energy and 'felt' so powerful
he scared me.
"Then again, when I once-in-a-while,
wonder about the reactions I'd had, I think I may have been attracted
to him. The men I'm attracted to sometimes scare me. But who knows?
I never found out.
"He was after all the husband
of my closest friend.
"I have principles."
neglected to include what Mentor had said after she complained
about the shortcut. "Christ Donna, there's no way out of
here except to cross those mountains. How the hell did you drive
into LA in the first place?" )
An Experienced Boxer
ARTHUR K. SNYDER
Attorney - Los Angeles City Councilman/ 20 years
things that always struck me about Mentor: One is that while he
was first and foremost and always an artist, he was also a man's
man -- a person who brooked no nonsense from those around him,
who stood up for his position intellectually, and made it very
clear from his persona that he was ready to stand up physically
as well. After all, while he was an artist, he was also an experienced
"And the other that illuminates his character as well, is
that he only had the use of one eye, having lost the other to
cancer early in his life. Yet in spite of that, a factor that
cripples the ability to perceive depth, he trained himself to
draw and paint depth of field in a way that is to my experienced
career in films and the bulk of his achievement in fine arts developed
after the loss of his eye and he produced work notable for the
very depth perception he could not see.
simply would not allow the loss of the eye to handicap him --
a factor that speaks reams about Mentor Huebner the man, who never
would accept defeat."
Hur & the Matchmakers
World War 2 U.S. Navy Veteran
Foreign Department Bank of America - Retired
Controller - Retired
was the Saturday evening before Easter when I turned on the TV
to channel 28 PBS and noticed they were showing BEN HUR which
had been given a four star rating. My wife Margot, and I remembered
it as being an excellent movie and decided to watch it. It was
a long film but it was worth every minute.
part of that film that we enjoyed most, originally, and now again,
was the chariot race in the circus arena when Ben Hur was eventually
pitted against Marcus Arreleus.
recalled Mentor had designed almost the entire film and especially
that complicated chariot race*.
The chariot race contributed to the film winning multiple Academy
Awards. Mentor had worked on the designs for the Chariot Race
for around 18 months. The 'trick' was to make it exciting, allow
for the spokes of the racing chariots to be slashed, so they could
topple over, and see to it that no one was killed in the process.
Along with Mentor accomplishing technically correct and precise
action shots, his production drawings are also works of art.)
were also impressed with those masterful very excellent 'ancient'
Roman statues designed by Mentor. They sat at each end of the
arena and set the tone of the time.
HUR, the film, and the chariot race and the statues, all of which
Mentor designed back in time in the 50's, brought him back to
us in a flood of warm memories.
was a very nice guy. He was a very talented guy. He's missed.
along with his first wife had been inadvertently responsible for
Mentor and I meeting in the first place and consider themselves
to be 'match makers'. At least Edward does. But, that's another
Home Safe Bob"
The Korean War June 1951
Brigadier General - Retired
Judge Advocate of the State of California - Retired
Law Professor - Author
I got home from the funeral, I sat down, depressed and turned
on the TV and the film "THE LONGEST DAY" had just started.
It was a powerful coincidence.
wife, Jane and I had visited Mentor and Louise while Mentor had
been on location in Paris when he was working on this film for
20th Century Fox and Darryl Zanuck.
film brought back a lot of memories.
seemed that during the entire week following Mentor's death, television
was showing all of his most popular feature films -- one after
another. Some of the films hadn't played in years. I was deeply
I was a Major and had been given orders to go to Korea, June 1951,
Mentor insisted on painting my portrait in full uniform. It was
at that time that Mentor also painted a message in the corner
of the portrait.
message now that Mentor is gone, gives me comfort.
find it hard to believe that I hadn't ever seen it until after
he died. But, that's what happened. He'd painted it discretely
with the same colors as the painting. In fact the same color upon
the same color made it almost invisible. The lettering was obscured
one day, just immediately after Mentor died, the Sun's rays came
into the room at just the right angle and shinned on the exact
spot where he had included his message. It seemed so clear that
I can't understand how it could have been missed for 50 years.
It means a lot to me now. Maybe even more than if I'd seen it
" 'Come home safe Bob!'
more can I say.....?"
Huebner. (c) 2003
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