The magazine, once criticised as being “for people who can’t read,” became an instant hit in 1936 and went on to feature defining images of the Second World War, natural disasters, the lives of Hollywood movie stars and the turbulent events of the 1960s. At its peak in the 1940s it sold 13.5 million copies a week.The magazine was last published in 2007 and it is now a website. The website editors looked back over more than 2,200 cover photographs to chose their 75 favourites, which included portraits of Winston Churchill, Marilyn Monroe and a notoriously racy cover of Sophia Loren.
They also admitted there had been some “clunkers,” chief among them a 1937 cover which showed a mannequin in a headscarf, described as the current editors as “disturbing” as well as a 1937 picture of a cockerel.A cover photograph of a man playing a, lute, which was taken by the celebrated landscape photographer Ansel Adams, also made it on to the list of images to forget Bob Sullivan, managing editor of Life Books, said the magazine was an “American Idol-sized hit overnight” when it launched and became even more popular as a result of the Second World War.”It wasn’t intended that Life was going to be a war magazine but that’s what happened. That story could be told in pictures in a way nobody had ever seen before,” he said. – Thetelegraph