Beloved superheroes like Black Panther, Spider-Man, the X-Men, and Dr. Strange are just a few of the brilliant comic book and film characters created by comic book legend Stan Lee. It’s with great sadness we report he passed away on Monday, November 12 at the age of 95 after being rushed to Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles. Well into his 90s, this human fountain of creativity remained full of energy, attended Comic-Con with glee and was an icon of American optimism without ever seeming naïve.
Throughout his long career, Lee never shied away from dealing with tough topics like war, drug abuse, and even racial tensions. Despite having superpowers, his characters felt like real people: hopeful, principled and flawed. The characters in the Fantastic Four, for example, often argued with each other, were jealous and even played tricks on each other. People loved all his characters because they were relatable and fun.
What’s unusual about Lee’s career is that it seemed to take off exponentially the older he got. Comic books led to movies and TV shows, then videogames, then to entire franchises in the last two decades. A visit to Lee’s IMDb page shows that he has projects slated for 2020 and most likely, beyond.
The thing people loved most about Lee was his boyish sense of fun. He often said he would never retire and he made good on his word. He had a larger than life personality and a charisma that served him well in Hollywood.
Another thing people loved was that he made a cameo appearance in nearly every single one of his films. To honor and remember Lee, here are our top seven favorite cameos.
No. 7 – Hugh Heffner in Iron Man (2008)
While this cameo is short and doesn’t give him any dialogue, the pipe says it all. Just four years older than the ultimate “Playboy,” it must have been some serious fantasy-fulfillment to play him. We only wish we knew what Heff thought about it.
No. 6 — Gambler in Black Panther (2018)
Lee takes Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman) down a notch by holding onto the craps winnings, proving that some justice will always prevail. Earlier this year, Lee joked in his interview with Comicbook.com that he was hoping for a more action-filled cameo. “I had wanted a great fight scene where I fight the Black Panther to a standstill,” said Lee. If only we had a chance to see that!
No. 5 — Love Expert in Mallrats (1995)
What more could a teen dude want than love advice from the Stan Lee? Brodie (Jason Lee) gets his mind blown when Lee waxes poetic about the girl who got away, hopefully teaching him a valuable lesson in love. Leave it to the movie’s writer/director Kevin Smith to give such a great role to every teen boy’s favorite icon.
No. 4 — Librarian in The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Lee listens to music on his headphones while Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) battles with The Lizard (Rhys Ifans) in the background, all but destroying the library. This is such a clever sequence considering the number of times Lee almost gets whacked in the head.
No. 3 — Bus Rider in Dr. Strange (2016)
Another short performance, he can been seen laughing as he reads Aldous Huxley’s book, The Doors of Perception, about the Huxley’s experimentation with mind-altering substances as Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) have their own reality-altering experiences in the background. In 2016, Lee told the Washington Post, “Next to Mother Goose, Huxley’s my favorite.”
No. 2 — Security Guard in The Hulk (2003)
We love Lou Ferrigno and if you grew up watching him play The Incredible Hulk on TV, this Lee cameo is simply a delight. We only wish Ferrigno had a bigger role, but that’s probably the nostalgia talking.
No. 1 — Guy Who Loses Car in Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
This is our favorite cameo, partly because it’s one of the most recent but also because it’s hilarious. We can only imagine what the 1960s were like for Lee, but considering he lived to be 95, any mind-altering experiences he might have had only seemed to benefit him.
Stan Lee, 1822-2018, may you R.I.P.