Yousuf Karsh: Churchill and Mackenzie King


William Lyon Mackenzie King and Winston Churchill, 1941 © Yousuf Karsh

We're all familiar with the portrait of Winston Churchill that Yousuf Karsh made in December, 1941, after Churchill finished his famous "some chicken, some neck!" speech at the Canadian Parliament. The story behind the Roaring Lion, as the photograph has come to be known, is not apocryphal: Karsh did whip the cigar from Churchill's mouth. But the funniest part of the story is that William Lyon Mackenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada, kind of set Karsh up. He hadn't told Churchill he was to be photographed and Churchill was not amused upon being delivered to Karsh's set. "Why was I not told?" he bellowed, and apparently everyone else in the room laughed. "This did not help my cause any!" complains Karsh, in this fabulous clip from "60 Minutes with Morley Safer." 

Churchill gave Karsh permission to make one more photograph, in which he is smiling broadly, as he is here, where Mr King has clearly enjoyed his little game.

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