Ellie Frazetta, Frank Frazetta’s beloved wife and business partner, died on July 17, 2009. Soon after, I wrote a memorial post in her honor for the Cimmerian blog:
Ellie was the rock that the Frazetta empire was built on. Frank loved to paint and play golf or checkers. What he didn’t like to do was obsess over taxes or contracts. Ellie ran the Frazetta business from the outset, allowing Frank to concentrate on doing what he did better than anybody else. She could be as hard-nosed as Andrew Carnegie, but Ellie also loved the fans who idolized her Frank. When she personally interacted with fans, Ellie was legendary for her charm and warmth. Here’s a 2011 testimonial from a lifelong Frazetta fan (edited slightly for punctuation and clarity):
“I married and had children of my own and was in the Navy. It was when I had been given orders to Virginia that I learned of [the Frazetta Museum]. I never believed or thought I would ever actually see an original painting of Frazetta’s. That’s when my dream became real. I spent hours staring at the paintings [in the Museum]. Meanwhile my wife and daughter were unknowingly being entertained by none other than Ellie…Haha. I was shocked and jealous when I found out that, for the better part of two to three hours, my wife was laughing and joking with my childhood idol’s wife! Ellie was great and I felt honored and star-struck by her presence.
So…a year later, I visited again and Ellie was there again. She remarked right away, “I remember you all!” And once again my wife and her picked up where they left off, laughing and discussing husbands, smoking, politics etc. I can’t even stop myself from smiling now, just remembering Ellie’s witty comments. Anyway… Ellie was a great host and an even better person.”
The Frazetta Museum that the commenter mentions was Ellie’s dream project. She came up with it and she was the one who made sure it got built, with Frank Sr. designing it and her son, Frank Jr., helping with the construction work. Ellie wanted to showcase Frank’s works on the beautiful estate in the Poconos where she and her husband had built a life since 1971. Despite moments of uncertainty in the past—for instance, when Frank Sr.’s other son, Bill, stated that paintings would never be shown in the Frazetta Museum ever again—the Frazetta Museum is still open. It contains around thirty classic Frazetta paintings—the largest such collection in the world—and is curated by Frank Jr. and his wife, Lori. Details can be found here.
Ellie may be ten years gone, but her legacy lives on.
*The cover pic for this blog post is a portrait of Ellie Frazetta, painted by her husband, Frank.