Harry Bennett

Harry Bennett

A Book Cover Legend

Harry Bennett’s dazzling style of swirls and whorls of flowing hair may be especially familiar to fans of Pocket Books‘ early historical romances, Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, and Jude Deveraux.


Bennett was born May 15, 1919, in South Salem, NY. He lived for forty years in Ridgefield, CT, the hometown of his wife.

Bennett was a commercial artist before enlisting in the Army in 1940. He fought bravely in World War II, retiring as a Major and winning the Bronze Star. After Bennett returned home from war, Harry Bennett married Margaret Shean in 1945. They had a daughter and three sons.

Career and Legacy

At the recommendation of his wife, he went to art school. He attended The Art Institute of Chicago and The American Academy of Art Chicago for two years before working again as a commercial artist, designing magazines advertisements.

Like Robert McGinnis, he painted covers for pulp fiction works for many years, becoming a giant in the book cover illustration industry.

Bennett illustrated the first paperback edition of Mario Puzo’s The Godfather. In total, he designed over 1,000 book covers.

Although his work inspired many other artists, Bennett’s has often been confused with that of H. Tom Hall. While their styles are similar, a keen eye needs only to look at the faces of the male models to spot the difference.

Retirement and Death

In 1986, Bennett retired from professional work to paint and teach.

On November 29, 2012, Harry Bennett passed away from pneumonia at the age of 93, survived by his daughter and his wife of 67 years. His legacy continues on the covers of many beautiful books.

Harry Bennett Obituary

Life of Harry Bennett

Harry Bennett on Goodreads

My Harry Bennett Pinterest

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