Stan Lee at his Forecourt ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX® in Hollywood, California, July 18, 2017. Photo by Michael Freeman.
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Stan Lee
Forecourt Ceremony held on Tuesday, July 18, 2017
 
Born: Stanley Martin Lieber, December 28, 1922, in New York City, New York
Age at the time of the ceremony: 94
Died: November 12, 2018, in Los Angeles, Califonia
 
The life of Stan Lee is a little different from other Forecourt Honorees, so let's rundown Lee's life up to his entering the movie business in 1966.

Lee was born to Romanian-born Jewish parents Celia and Jack Lieber. Jack was a dress-cutter who had trouble finding work during the depression, forcing the family to move a good deal. Young Stan was much affected by books and Errol Flynn movies.

He attended the DeWitt Clinton High School in The Bronx, and worked odd jobs along the way. Enjoying writing, he entered and won a writing contest sponsored by the New York Herald Tribune so often, the newspaper told him to stop entering, so that someone else could win for a change. He graduated high school early and joined the WPA Federal Theatre Project in 1939.

Also that year, Lee's uncle got him a job at Timely Comics, published by Martin Goodman (1908-1992), whose wife Jean was a cousin of Lee's. Starting at the bottom, Lee filled the artists' inkwells and proofread, and in May 1941, wrote his first story for Captain America, who had been created by editor Joe Simon (1913-2011) and artist Jack Kirby (1917-1994): "Captain America Foils the Traitor's Revenge." Lee was bubbling with ideas; just in 1941, he came up with the characters the Destroyer, Jack Frost and Father Time.

With Simon and Kirby moving over to rival DC Comics in late 1941, 19 year-old Stan Lee was made editor at Timely. Lee joined the U.S. Army in early 1942, and was put in the Signal Corps, writing training manuals and other such things; he wrote stories for Timely Comics meanwhile. Lee mustered out in 1945.

Lee married Joan Boocock in December 1947 and bought a house in Woodmere New York. Daughter Joan "J.C." came along in 1950. Returning to Timely Comics saw Lee writing scenarios for a wide array of westerns, romances and science fiction. In November 1951, Goodman changed the name of the company to Atlas Comics, with offices on the 14th floor of the Empire State Building.

But Lee found this to be a creative dead end. He was thinking of quitting when Goodman, goaded by the success of DC's Justice League, and with the return of Jack Kirby to what was now being called Marvel Comics, ordered Lee and Kirby to create characters which could compete with DC's Justice League. Lee's wife Joan encouraged Stan to write what he wanted to write, since he had nothing to loose. After creating a "monster of the month" called "The Monster from Planet X," AKA Groot, for an issue of Tales to Astonish in November 1960, Stan and his staff got going.

Lee and Kirby and others responded with characters who, while comic book heroes, were complicated people, working in a real (and shared) world. Characters from one line of comics could and did appear in those of another. The first of these was Fantastic Four (debuted in November 1961). The response was tremendous. In short order, Lee and Kirby created many of the characters which are currently making fortunes on movie screens around the world.

The Hulk (debuted in May 1962), Thor (debuted in August 1962) Ant-Man (debuted in September 1962), Iron Man (debuted in March 1963) and the X-Men (debuted in September 1963). The two would also create S.H.I.E.L.D (debuted in August 1965). Lee and artist Bill Everett (1917-1973) created Daredevil (debuted in April 1964).

With artist Steve Ditko (1927-2018), Lee created Doctor Strange (debuted in July 1963) and what would become Lee's most popular character, Spider-Man (debuted in August 1962). Most of these characters would band together to form The Avengers (debuted in September 1963), who would later be joined by Captain America and the Sub-Mariner. The Fantastic Four would be augmented by the Inhumans (debuted in December 1965). Other characters included Black Panther (debuted in July 1966), the Silver Surfer (debuted in March 1966) and Captain Marvel (debuted in December 1967).

Here is where it gets thorny: Marvel partnered with Grantray-Lawrence Animation to make 65 episodes of The Marvel Super Heroes, starring Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor and the Sub-Mariner, aired in syndication from September 1, 1966. This was the beginning of Marvel as a film powerhouse. In 1967, they had an animated version of Fantastic Four; an animated Spider-Man was on from 1967 to 1970.

In 1972, Lee succeed Martin Goodman as publisher of Marvel Comics, overseeing development of new characters like Blade (debuted in July 1973) and Howard the Duck (debuted in December 1973). Lee continued on the television path with a live-action The Amazing Spider-Man in 1977. The Fantastic Four was a animated show in 1978, an animated Spider-Woman started in 1979.

The 1980s saw Marvel producing an animated Spider-Man in 1981; The Incredible Hulk was animated in 1982, and Marvel got into video games with Spider-Man, X-Men and The Incredible Hulk. Howard the Duck (released in August 1986) with Lea Thompson, flopped utterly.

In the 90s, Marvel introduced Deadpool (debuted in February 1991) and began licensing characters to film and television producers, resulting in X-Men: The Animated Series in 1992, Fantastic Four: The Animated Series in 1994, an animated Iron Man in 1994, Spider-Man: The Animated Series in 1994, another animated swing at The Incredible Hulk in 1996, an animated Silver Surfer in 1998 and an animated Avengers: United They Stand in 1999. An animated X-Men: Evolution took to the airwaves in 2000.

Stan Lee retired from Marvel in 1998, receiving the title of Chairman Emeritus. Meanwhile, Marvel had started Marvel Studios, which began aggressively working to get feature films going. Stan Lee got executive producer credit on all of the Marvel Studio films. The first film from the Studio was Blade (released in August 1998) with Wesley Snipes. It made $131 million, and was followed by another, Blade II (which played the Chinese in March 2002), and a third in 2004. The three films have taken in $415 million. A good start.

But making films of the Marvel Comic characters took a critical turn with the success of X-Men (released in July 2000) with Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. There have been 12 films in the X-Men series, taking in almost $6 billion. This was followed by director Sam Raimi's Spider-Man (released in May 2002) with Tobey McGuire in the title role. The super fun and convincing film made a lot of converts and money too. The film and its two sequels brought in $2.4 billion.

The recipe went a little south with Daredevil (which played the Chinese in February 2003) with Ben Affleck; it is a film most fanboys would like to forget; the same may be said for director Ang Lee's Hulk (released in June 2003) with Eric Bana. It dissappointed fans. So did Fantastic Four (released in July 2005) with Ioan Gruffudd.

It took them a while to figure it out, but under the leadership of Kevin Feige, the key was hiring stars who could play these characters convincingly and directors who could tell the stories with real feeling and panaché. The turn came with Iron Man (released in May 2008) with Robert Downey Jr. in the title role. Iron Man has had two sequels, taking in a combined $2.4 billion.

The Incredible Hulk (released in June 2008) with Edward Norton as the Hulk, did well, pointing the way to The Avengers. There was an animated The Spectacular Spider-Man in 2008. There was an animated Iron Man in 2010. At the end of 2009, The Walt Disney Company purchased the Marvel Studio for $4 billion.

A successful version of Thor (released in May 2011) starred Chris Hemsworth. There have been three Thor movies, grossing $1.9 billion. The big payday came with the release of The Avengers (released in May 2012), which brought many of the Marvel characters together in one storyline; it was an even bigger grosser than any of the other films. There have been four Avengers movies, which have taken in $7.6 billion.

Marvel Studios did a new version of The Amazing Spider-Man (released in July 2012) with Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man and Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy. There have been two Spider-Man movies with Garfield, taking in $1.4 billion.

Guardians of the Galaxy (which played the Chinese in August 2014) with Chris Pratt, was a huge hit, spawning a sequel. The two films have brought in $1.6 billion. Ant-Man (which played the Chinese in July 2015) with Paul Rudd, was followed by a sequel; the two films have brought in $1.1 billion. Doctor Strange (which had its World Premiere at the Chinese on October 20, 2016) with Benedict Cumberbatch, did $677 million.

In an effort to blend the Spider-Man films into the "Marvel Cinematic Universe," a new film was created: Spider-Man: Homecoming (which had its World Premiere at the Chinese on June 28, 2017) with Tom Holland as Spider-Man. It made $880 million.

Lee's wife Joan died of a stroke in July 2017 after 69 years of marriage. Lee's business manager and fanboy Keya Morgan was accused of isolating Lee in order to make off with his fortune of $50 million. Daughter J.C. sought and won a restaining order against Morgan, who was eventually charged with elder abuse, false imprisonment, grand theft, fraud, forgery and so on. Morgan's trial has yet to start.

Marvel's Inhumans (which played the Chinese in September 2017) with Anson Mount, aired over ABC in September 2017. Black Panther (which played the Chinese in February 2018) with Chadwick Boseman, suprised nearly everyone by bringing in an asounding $1.3 billion.

To celebrate the 19th anniversary of the Marvel Studio, a retrospective of 20 films produced up to that time were shown in the IMAX®  format at the Chinese from Thursday, August 30 to September 3, 2018. On November 12, 2018, Lee died of cardiac arrest at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center just shy of his 96th birthday.

Lee's production company Pow! Entertainment held a memorial service for Stan Lee "Excelsior! A Celebration of the Amazing, Fantastic, Incredible & Uncanny Life of Stan Lee" at the Chinese on January 30, 2019.

Lee's creations continue on.

Bringing the "Infinity Saga" to a resounding finish, Avengers: Endgame, starring Robert Downey Jr., played the Chinese in April 2019, and made $2.8 billion. Spider-Man: Far from Home, with Tom Holland, played the Chinese in July 2019, and went on to make $1.1 billion worldwide, as did Captain Marvel (which played the Chinese in March 2019) with Brie Larson, has brought in $1.1 billion.
 
 
TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX®, Hollywood, California. Stan Lee Forecourt block. Executed by unknown, Tuesday, July 18, 2017. 30 x 20 inches.
TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX®, Hollywood, California. Michael Bay Forecourt ceremony, Tuesday, July 18, 2017. Stan Lee flashes his cementy hands off for the cameras.
 
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