Ferrari poster legend Rick McBride dies in Canterbury
Rick McBride in his
pomp as a world-renowned photographer
To everyone who knew him
around the world, Rick McBride was a legend.
Ace photographer, great
graphic artist, friend of film stars and racing drivers,
imaginative writer and a lover of sport, beautiful women and fast
cars. A true international, he lived in Canada, America, Italy and,
finally, in Britain, at Bishopsbourne near Canterbury.
Only a short while after
being diagnosed with an untreatable brain tumour he died on
Rick was born in Detroit, but
was brought up by his grandmother in Toronto, Canada, before moving
He fought with the US Army in
Korea and then became an art director working in advertising and
By the 1960s he had his own
advertising agency in Los Angeles, where his principal clients were
Aston Martin, Jaguar, Ford and Ferrari.
He organised some of the
first motor shows in America and the first ever in Mexico
He drove only the finest cars
in the world; there was only one other open-top Jag like his in
Hollywood, owned by Lena Horne.
He numbered many film stars,
singers and bandleaders among his friends.
It was Ferrari which was to
change his life.
He designed for them a
poster, copies of which sell at high prices around the
It featured a nude, a bottle
of fine wine and a Ferrari 308GTB and carried the legend Decisions,
As a result of constant
visits to Ferrari and their famous designer Pinin Farina, he became
their official photographer, going to all the famous race tracks
and becoming friends with such Ferrari drivers as the Rodriguez
brothers and many others.
And it was through Ferrari
that he met his future wife Valerie in 1964 and married in
He was working on a
photoshoot for a brochure for which they needed a model.
Valerie was that rare thing,
an English blonde who had become a successful model in Italy, so
successful that she was known as La Regina di Torino, the Queen of
Turin. He fell in love with her, wooed her and wed her in Los
Angeles in 1968.
A keen sportsman, he was not
content merely to watch it from the comfort of his armchair, he was
an excellent cross-country skier, competitive speed skater on
frozen lakes and rivers and twice ran the bulls at Pamplona,
so vividly described by his fellow countryman Ernest
In 1986 he "retired", if
taking on a huge 15th century Wealden hall house, Elmstone Farm,
Grafty Green, and helping Valerie create a seven-acre garden and
orchards, writing the Good Coffee Guide, the definitive statement
on where to find the best coffee in Europe, and working on and
subsequently owning the Tenterden-based magazine Period
Home, can be called retirement.
Six years ago, he and Valerie
decided to downsize and moved to a graceful Georgian house in
Bishopsbourne, where again Valerie used her gardening skills to
great effect and Rick started out on his last great project, a
novel based on many elements of his own life and which he finished
shortly before his death.
photographer, sportsman, master cocktail mixer, film buff, opera
and theatre lover. Rick McBride was all of these … and
His funeral will be held at Barham Crematorium on
Thursday (January 31) at 3.20pm.
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