Neil Leifer (New York, NY), Filmmaker and former Sports Illustrated, Time and LIFE Photographer Neil Leifer’s photography career has spanned over 60 years. Beginning in 1960, his pictures regularly appeared in every major national magazine, including the Saturday Evening Post, Look, LIFE, Newsweek, and, most often, Sports Illustrated and Time. His photographs have appeared on over 200 Sports Illustrated, Time, and People covers.
Neil Leifer is the 2006 recipient of the prestigious Lucie Award for Achievement in Sports Photography. In 2008, he was honored for his outstanding contribution to Time Inc. journalism with The Britton Hadden Lifetime Achievement Award. In June 2014 he was inducted, along with legendary boxing champions Felix Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya, into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, becoming the first photographer to ever be elected to a professional sports hall of fame.
Leifer has published 17 books, 9 of which have been collections of his sports photographs. In May 2016, the University of Texas Press published Leifer’s memoir, Relentless. In December 2020 TASCHEN published Leifer’s latest book, LEIFER/BOXING 60 years of fights and fighters which will be a collection of his photographs taken over the last 6 decades of the sweet science.
Leifer has traveled all over the world on sports and news assignments. He has photographed 16 Olympic Games (7 winter and 9 summer), 4 FIFA World Cups, 15 Kentucky Derbies, countless World Series games, the first 12 Super Bowls and every important heavyweight title fight since Ingemar Johansson beat Floyd Patterson in 1959. His 1965 photograph of Muhammad Ali standing over a KO’d Sonny Liston is considered by many as the greatest sports photograph of all time.
Now a full-time filmmaker, producer, and director. Leifer’s 2018 documentary “Neary’s - The Dream at the End of the Rainbow” had its premiere at the Bishop Sheen Center in New York City. Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, hosted the event. The Cardinal appears in the film alongside Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Lloyd Blankfein (CEO of Goldman Sachs), Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith, Kathie Lee Gifford and author Mary Higgins Clark.