Stars pay tribute to photographer Peter Beard found dead in woods
Stars are paying tribute to “visionary artist” Peter Beard who was found dead in woods near his cliff-side home on Sunday.
The celebrated wildlife photographer, who had developed dementia in recent years and had at least one stroke, was 82.
His body was discovered by a hunter in a remote wooded area of a state park in Long Island, east of New York City, weeks after his family reported him missing on 31 March.
“He died where he lived: in nature,” his family said in a statement posted on Beard’s website on Sunday night.
The cause of death has not been determined but neither foul play nor suicide is suspected.
Beard was renowned for his daring photos of African wildlife during the decades he lived there, and his journals that have often integrated his photographs have been widely shown and published since the 1960s.
His best-known work was The End of Game published in 1965, which documented the beauty and romance of Africa and the tragedy of its endangered wildlife, in particular the elephant.
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Stories about his personal life took precedence in the media over his work at times, and he had well-documented romances with many of the women he photographed for magazine fashion shoots, including Candice Bergen and Lee Radziwill – the sister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, according to the New York Times.
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He was also a regular at former nightspot Studio 54 in New York and mixed with many figures of the Swinging Sixties including Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Salvador Dali and the Rolling Stones.
Beard was married to supermodel Cheryl Tiegs for two years in the 80s and discovered David Bowie’s wife Iman on the streets of Nairobi.
Sir Mick Jagger paid tribute to his friend in an Instagram post, writing: “Sad to hear my dear friend Peter Beard has died, he was a visionary artist and photographer, who wasn’t afraid to take risks. My thoughts are with his wife Nejma and daughter Zara.”
Musician Nile Rodgers described Beard as “one of a kind, a lovely soul and an artist of the highest order”.
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Sad to hear my dear friend Peter Beard has died, he was a visionary artist and photographer, who wasn’t afraid to take risks. My thoughts are with his wife Nejma and daughter Zara.
A post shared by Mick Jagger (@mickjagger) on Apr 20, 2020 at 8:11am PDT
RIPPeterBeard and my sincerest condolences to Nejma and his family and friends. He just responded to an instagram post of mine a few weeks ago. We’ve had great times together. He was one of a kind, a lovely soul and an artist of the highest order. https://t.co/FORXZYhvY6pic.twitter.com/NsoaDiTll9
— Nile Rodgers (@nilerodgers) April 20, 2020
Duran Duran keyboardist Nick Rhodes said Beard “seized every moment and devoured it with intense joy”, adding: “His energy and profound belief in natural beauty and art was an inspiration.”
Born into a wealthy family in Manhattan in 1938, Beard graduated in 1961 from Yale, where he studied with the artist Josef Albers and art historian Vincent Scully.
“I’m sad to hear that Peter Beard has left our world. He was truly one of life’s great adventurers, curious and fearless to the end. He seized every moment and and devoured it with intense joy.
His energy and profound belief in natural beauty and art was an inspiration. -Nick” pic.twitter.com/Fe3PBkNJys
— Duran Duran (@duranduran) April 20, 2020
Wow. What a bummer. Rest In Peace you fabulous creature. My sincere condolences to the friends and family of legendary Peter Beard. What an incredible character and artist he was. I feel incredibly honored to have met him. 🐆 pic.twitter.com/hwviZoQYAt
— Garbage (@garbage) April 20, 2020
He travelled to Denmark after graduating and met and photographed Karen Blixen, who had written the memoir Out of Africa under the pen name Isak Dinesen.
Beard is survived by his wife Nejma Beard and daughter Zara.