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Leonard McCombe

Epithet: Manx born photographer for Picture Post and Life Magazine (1923- 2015)

Record type: Biographies

Parish: Rushen

Town / Village residence: Port Erin

Biography: Leonard McCombe was the son of Mr and Mrs James McCombe who ran The Strand Cafe in Port Erin. He attended the Port Erin Wesleyan School in Rushen before studying at The Douglas High School for Boys. In 1939 he was at the scene when Leslie's Pavilion in Port Erin burnt to the ground and captured the moment with his camera. The images appeared on the front page of the Isle of Man Examiner in August. Later The Examiner claimed to have launched his career as a professional photographer! At the age of 16 Leonard left school and became the official photographer for the Rushen Internment Camp.

In 1943 he left the Island and became a photographer for Picture Post where he went on many assignments to France and Germany to record the front line. In 1948 the results of his work were published in Germany by Atlantis Verlag "Menschen Eileiden Geschichte" (Humans Suffering History") subtitled "The Face of Europe from the Thames up to Weichsel 1943-1946".

McCombe moved to America in 1945 and took up citizenship in 1953 while working as a photographer for Life Magazine. He took many intriguing photographs documenting 1950-60s America including the Kennedys. One of his most influential assignments involved working with Texan cowboys. Following the publication of his images in Life Magazine the advertising company for Philip Morris Tobacco selected one of McCombe's cowboy images to re-brand the Marlboro cigarette and so the Marlboro cowboy was born.

There are several articles in the Manx newspapers throughout the 1950s documenting the success of Leonard McCombe's career.

Occupation / profession: Photographer

Gender: Male

Date of birth: 1 June 1923

Name Variant: Mccombe, L.


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