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The last work: THE JEWEL OF THE NILE

I’ve been occasionally asked what was Richard Amsel’s last work before he died on November 13th, 1985. His last finished movie poster was MAD MAX: BEYOND THUNDERDOME, released in July 1985. Two TV GUIDE covers then followed, one featuring MIAMI VICE (July 27th issue), the other featuring newscasters Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, and Dan Rather (Oct. 26th issue). The latter cover represents Amsel’s last completed piece.

Yet the artist’s very last project, one that he would not live to finish, was the poster for THE JEWEL OF THE NILE. Amsel had done a number of preparatory sketches for the ROMANCING THE STONE sequel, but was forced to abandon them as his health rapidly declined. He left Los Angeles and returned to New York, seeking medical treatment. Sadly, it would be a one-way trip.

David Byrd recalled his heartbreak at finding Amsel’s sketches left behind in his apartment. David held onto them for decades, and only sold them when faced with challenging medical bills. David and I were good friends by then, and I confessed I wished I had the means to buy them myself at that time. Fortunately, David had made scans of the sketches, and shared them with me.

The eventual poster for THE JEWEL OF THE NILE was done by artist Robert Rodriguez. It emphasized the comic aspects of the film, and I admire it very much. Yet Richard Amsel's sketches demonstrate a more romantic approach.

One can only imagine how his final version would have looked, had he been able to complete it.


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