What, if anything, is the difference between Abe Hirschfeld and Al Hirschfeld?
There is in fact a great deal of difference, although they are both old and famous.
Abe Hirschfeld, age 78, rejoices in the semi-official title, “eccentric businessman.” He made headlines this month by offering to pay Paula Jones $1 million to drop her suit against President Clinton. The last time Hirschfeld made headlines was in 1993 when he owned the New York Post for two weeks–he was so disliked that his own paper ran articles lampooning him. One of Hirschfeld’s most distinctive qualities is a thick Yiddish accent, about which he said: “I sound like I’m arriving in America next Thursday.”
Al Hirschfeld, age 94, is the legendary illustrator known for his celebrity caricatures. Hirschfeld has been the New York Times’ resident theatrical caricaturist for more than 50 years and has been drawing Broadway stars for over 70. Since 1957, he’s hidden the word “NINA”–his daughter’s name–in every line drawing he’s executed. (Click here for a look at some of Hirschfeld’s work.)