National Walking Day: Strolls with Stan Lee
Growing up in New York City, Stan Lee loved to walk, and he continued doing so when he moved to car-centric Los Angeles. In fact, Stan framed and proudly displayed a photo the paparazzi captured of him as he strode through Beverly Hills in his office, because he liked the picture so much! (Yes, that’s the image below.) In honor of National Walking Day, we’re sharing stories about Stan’s penchant for strolls.
When the Marvel Productions office was located in the San Fernando Valley in the 1980s, Stan used to gather his whole staff for lunch and walk up Sepulveda Blvd. to local restaurants several blocks away, then march everyone back to the office again after lunch. I can imagine that it was quite a challenge when those valley temperatures soared over 100 degrees, as they routinely do, but Stan loved the warm temperatures. Oh, and lunch was on Stan, of course.
Even as he got older, Stan was the often the fastest walker around. With his long legs, and having walked for years through busy New York City, Stan could cover great distances quickly and navigate crowds nimbly as he walked. It was often a challenge to try to keep up with him, so I was pretty proud of myself whenever I managed to keep up with Stan at comic conventions and elsewhere. Stan also always insisted on walking “on the sunny side of the street,” literally. If there was a choice between a cool, shaded walk along one side of the street and warm, bright sun on the other, he’d cross that street to walk in that warm, bright sun. Stan always loved Los Angeles’ sunny skies.
-Mike Kelly, Stan’s assistant and POW! Content Writer and Editor
Stan enjoyed walking almost as much, if not more than, eating or driving! When we visited New York City for an event or convention, we figured that we could walk a New York block going north or south in a minute. So, we would cover 20 blocks in 20 minutes. This was just a routine stroll for us, well mostly for Stan—it was a little more strenuous for me! In Los Angeles where walking is not as common, we continued these daily treks for many years around our office in Beverly Hills, and it was not uncommon that we would be stopped multiple times throughout our walk so Stan could sign an autograph or pose for a picture; even though people had our route staked out, Stan always stopped to oblige his fans. Only in the last few years, as the distance of our walks diminished, did Stan confide to me that he now understood the meaning of the name Beverly Hills!
-Gill Champion, President and Co-Founder with Stan of POW! Entertainment
Stan Lee was a walker. Maybe it was his New York City roots, or his overabundance of energy, but Stan loved to march everywhere he went. It was his preferred mode of transportation. Whether it was around his Beverly Hills neighborhood, or a comicbook convention floor, it was a challenge to get The Man to sit or even slow down. Even when he was given a scooter to alleviate his travels, Stan saw it more as a toy than a vehicle. He would often attribute his skinny physique and booming health to his long strides.
I’ll never forget my first day at work when the whole office went out to lunch together. I was unaware that Stan was a power-walker then. Everyone else let him jet ahead, but I foolishly tried to keep pace with him.
He casually turned to me and asked, “Want to see something?” Before I could answer he swung one leg over a parking meter. When my heart attack subsided, he quipped, “My wife hates it when I do that,” and continued on his way. I’ve heard similar stories over the years so this was something he apparently did often!
-Steve Voccola, POW! Head Writer