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'The Line King: The Al Hirschfeld Story'

By Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Aug. 22, 1997

If you’re one of those people who insist on looking for all the "Ninas" hidden in Al Hirschfeld’s dead-on theatrical caricatures in the Sunday New York Times, you’ll love this documentary valentine to the 93-year-old artist.

Even non-obsessive-compulsive types should enjoy Susan W. Dryfoos’s loving, if overly meticulous, 1996 biography, which makes plentiful use of the master’s delightful pen-and-ink portraits of stage and screen performers.

There are also the standard talking-head interviews with family members, friends and the glitterati, paying homage to the white-bearded but sharp-as-a-tack Hirschfeld, whose career nearly spans the 20th century and is still going strong.

In wry understatement, Hirschfeld himself modestly sums up the success of his life as social historian-cum-illustrator: "After watching people for 90 years, you do manage to pick up a few things."

THE LINE KING: THE AL HIRSCHFELD STORY (Unrated) — Contains nothing objectionable.

© Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company

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