"The premier entertainment caricaturist of our century." ~Walter Isaacson
. This, however, is not to suggest that his art did not occasionally spark controversy aside from testing the egos of a few actors prone to histrionics. In 1998 his caricature of Louis Armstrong, part of a group composition, for Time was replaced with an alternate commission swapping out Armstrong and Charlie Chaplin for Bob Dylan. Hirschfeld insisted the original drawing was a valid caricature while some people at Time believed it could be "troublesome" with potentially racist overtones. It seems that Louis Armstrong himself was partially responsible for Hirschfeld's interpretation of him. 
, Al Hirschfeld died in his sleep 6 months shy of 100 years old on January 20th, 2003.
"After 70 years of drawing you have to improve otherwise you are a dolt. It is a question of elimination and understanding, of trial and error and suddenly something happens, an epiphany." ~Hirschfeld
"When I was about fourteen, my mother took me to see a musical comedy and that was my first experience in the theater and I was enchanted with it. It transported me to another world. You might say that I was stage-struck. I was mesmerized by the stage."
"Nature is really terrific but I wouldn't want to live there." ~Hirschfeld
"The artist Paul Klee said that a line is a dot out for a walk. With Al Hirschfeld, it's out for a dance, it's out for a jump, it's out for a frolic, ....just watch the line and you'll see it curlicue just like music." ~Stefan Kanfer
A few bits of info: In 1991 Hirschfeld became the first artist in history to have his name printed on a USPS stamp booklet. The comedian collection was so successful he was again commissioned in 1994 to portray a collection of stars from the silent screen era. In his studio he used an old barber's chair that he felt was superior in design for use at a drawing table. In the documentary he describes it as, "the last functional chair made, I think." He usually worked seven days per week and quit before sundown, preferring natural light. He worked large on 24x36 illustration board. He preferred Gillott Crow quill pen nibs to build up his lines and sometimes went through quite a few before completing a drawing.
"You always feel the drawing you are working on is the best you've ever done, ...I am only interested in the present." ~Hirschfeld
The Line King: The Al Hirschfeld Story
Running Time: 86 Minutes
Description from the Jacket: The Line King tells the amazing story of Al Hirschfeld, creator of thousands of famous drawings of stars and celebrities for more than sixty years. Nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature (1996), The Line King celebrates Hirschfeld’s many years of work for The New York Times, where his drawings were a centerpiece of the Sunday Arts section. With appearances by Lauren Bacall, Carol Channing, Joan Collins, Barbara Walters, Robert Goulet, and many others, The Line King is a fascinating portrait of the artist as a cultural icon.
DVD Extras: An essay by Michael Kimmelman, a gallery of Hirschfeld drawings and a short segment with Hirschfeld working on a caricature of Paul Newman in his studio.
On and slightly off topic including a critique of the Blackwing 602 pencil used by early cartoonists and animators, a Disney studio rejection letter to a woman inquiring about employment back in June of 1938 and a New York Times article also from 1938 critiquing Disney's Snow White written by Al Hirschfeld.
I was on Charlie's PBS talk show, but here the table was turned and he's the subject on my show. I'm more interested in drawing him than in him trying to draw me out anyway. I wanted to show what it is that makes him such a gifted interviewer. I've boiled it down to the wry expression and the hands---once again they're the telegraphers, graphically, of inner character. Charlie's hands are particularly expressive. He uses them like a concert conductor during his discussions to egg on or hold up a particular thought or guest. his expressive face also tells his interviewee what he's asking and what he's happy and not happy hearing. He's a great traffic cop of talk. But he does it all with that great Southern charm, so you gladly surrender t his superb conducting. And his eyebrows and hair always are that unruly---though they might just be a casualty of the Public Television production budget ~Excerpt from the book by Al Hirschfeld titled: Hirschfeld On Line.
D.T. Nethery and The Inkling Chronicles Blog
Hirschfeld's critique of the animation in Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
January 30th, 1938
When presented with the concept of adopting his visual style for the Rhapsody in Blue segment, Hirschfeld told Goldberg that if he was 50 years younger he would have been on a train the next day to work on the project.
Eric Goldberg showed Rhapsody in Blue to Al Hirschfeld shortly before the artist's 96th birthday. Hirschfeld's 3rd wife Louise called it the best birthday present he could have received.
There is a nice story of a young Pete Emslie/aspiring artist who was able to contact Hirschfeld through TV Guide. They exchanged a few letters. Years later the boy, now an adult freelancing for Disney, was in NY and decided to look up Al. He was actually listed in the phone book and even answered the phone. Al remembered him from the letters and invited him over to his house. He showed him around the studio then had tea and cake with Dolly downstairs.
A few of the letters corresponding via snail mail: The Cartoon Cave
 Aladdin and Fantasia 2000:
Stefan Kanfer: City Journal Article
The Observer Article: http://www.observer.com/node/40623
 Congressional Record 3/25/2003 Hearing on House Resolution 46 honoring the life and legacy of Al Hirschfeld
 Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon Game
The Disney Rejection Letter: "...women do not do any of the creative work in connection with preparing the cartoons for the screen as that work is done entirely by young men. .....girls are not considered for the training school."
The letter does go on to say that women do trace characters on clear celluloid sheets and fill in the cartoons on the backside "according to directions." The letter ends by discouraging further action in pursuit of work at the studio because there are so few openings in proportion to the number of girls applying for positions. It is worth pointing out that the author of the letter was also a woman.
The Blackwing 602:
Images © The Al Hirschfeld Foundation, Castle Hill Productions, Susan Dryfoos Productions, New York Times History, Margo Feiden Galleries, Time, Life and Disney respectively.