Renowned illustrator, fencer from Westport dies at 96

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WESTPORT -

Ed Vebell, a Westport illustrator who also once dueled in the Olympics, has died. He was 96.

He died last Friday, according to his daughter, Andra -- but not before he could see the opening of an exhibit in honor of his fascinating life, "The Curious Case of Ed Vebell."

The Westport Historical Society says he had been happy to help them build it by recounting some of his stories.

Vebell began his career as a field illustrator during World War II. He was later the court sketch artist during the Nuremberg trials.

He went on to capture lighter subjects, like the young model Grace Kelly. 

"She turned him down for a date, but she did model for him," says a spokesperson for the historical society.

His illustrations appeared in magazines like Reader's Digest and Time. His art even decorated Wheaties boxes.

Vebell also found time to become an accomplished fencer, winning a world epee title and competing in the 1952 Olympic Games.

The Westport Historical Society will host a memorial for Vebell Saturday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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