Monday came as a major blow to the comics community, as news spread that Marvel Comics co-founder Stan Lee had died at the age of 95. Since the word broke, fans and celebrities have been paying their respects to the man who created one of the most influential fictional universes of our time—and on Monday night, during his appearance on The Late Show, Hugh Jackman offered his own fond recollection of the man whose work essentially kick-started his career.
“I remember Stan as a true gentleman who had this glint in his eye,” Jackman said. “Hes a creative genius; he thought outside the box. He created a whole universe that changed the lives of many people, mine included.”
Jackmans breakout role, Wolverine, is a member of the X-Men universe, and Jackman has played him for 17 years now, ever since the first X-Men film debuted in 2000. (Amusingly enough, Jackman admitted that when he began working on the film, he did not realize that a “wolverine” was a real animal. Instead, he researched wolves, which are not the same thing.) Going into his first Comic-Con, Jackman recalled thinking, “This is my spot; this is a good day for me”—but he was quickly humbled, he said, when he arrived on the red carpet and realized no one was interested in taking his photo. “Because at the other end [of the red carpet] was Stan Lee.”
Before Jackman turned up onstage, Late Show host Stephen Colbert paid his own tribute to the comics icon. As fans know, the comedian is a pretty big Marvel fan; his set even includes the Captain America shield. As he reflected on Lees legacy, Colbert called him a legend.
“Lee had a hand in creating all of your favorite comic-book characters: Spider-Man, Iron Man, Black Panther,” Colbert said. “Lee was also a World War II veteran, a screenwriter, and married to his wife, Joanie, for 70 years—after they dated for two weeks and flew to Reno so she could get a quickie divorce and then marry Stan the same day. Thats a story. So thanks for all the stories, Stan. And I know youre hearing this a lot today, but: excelsior!”
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