The LIFE magazine was one of the most iconic publications of the 20th century. Even after four decades of its closure (LIFE shut down in 1972), the magazine remains etched in public memory through countless nostalgic references, an unforgettable work of literature and the films based on that book. James Thurber’s classic 1939 short story, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty – the life-evoking tale of a daydreamer – was not a tribute to LIFE magazine at the time of its release and neither was the 1947 movie version. It was, however, Ben Stiller’s 2013 version of the same book that brought LIFE back on screen and in public memory (not that it has faded, anyways!). In this film, we see a unique cover page of the magazine with Stiller’s character of Mitty on it and we also catch glimpses of huge LIFE magazine covers along the walls of the imagined office of the famed weekly. In reality, although all pictures were taken by photographers for LIFE, they never graced the cover. Here are all of them, and more.
Credit: LIFE, and Time.