Leopoldo Raul Morey y Pena was born October 24, 1899 in Pummaguos, Peru. His father, Adolfo Morey, was born 1863 in Spain with Scottish ancestry. His mother, whose name and date of birth are unknown, was Ecuadorian. His father was a Rubber industrialist, who owned plantations and several ships that traveled the Amazon River to gather cargo for overseas export during an historic boom in the rubber industry. They had eighteen children. They lived in Yquitos and also had a home in Lima at 340 Paseo Colon.
All of the Morey children were able to study abroad. Most of them attended schools in Europe, but he was the only child that chose to study in the USA.
From an early age he wanted to be an artist, but his father disapproved, so instead of attending art school he studied engineering.
In August 1918 he sailed to America to begin his college education in the School of Engineering at Louisiana State University. He lived at 561 Middle Street Baton Rouge, LA.
During the World War he registered with the US draft board as a citizen of Peru. He was recorded to be five-foot nine, medium built, with brown eyes and "Negro" hair. He did not serve in the military.
He graduated college in 1922 with a degree in engineering, but he was also the main illustrator of his college year book.
After graduation he worked in New Orleans as a certified engineer.
In 1925 he returned to South America and worked as a commercial illustrator for a Buenos Aires newspaper. In 1926 he returned to America when he was hired as a staff artist for a newspaper in New Orleans.
In the Summer of 1929 he married Josephine "Josie" Vivian Morrison, who was born in Louisiana on July 4, 1904. After the wedding they visited Lima, Peru, and stopped off in Havana, Cuba.
Leo Morey only applied to U. S. Immigration for working papers as a Permanent Resident. He did not apply to become a Naturalized Citizen, and as such he remained a citizen of Peru. By marrying a U.S. citizen his legal status as a Resident Alien improved.
On January 8, 1931 his wife gave birth to a son, who died seven hours later. After three months of recuperating from the complicated childbirth his wife died on April 27, 1931.
After this tragedy he left New Orleans and moved to New York City, where he lived at 3758 81st Street in Queens, NY, which he rented monthly for $55.
In 1932 he moved to 41-46 50th Street in Woodside, Queens, NY.
During the 1930s he sold freelance story illustrations and cover paintings to Amazing Stories and Astounding. Although Leo Morey is most renowned for his science fiction illustration, he also painted covers for other pulp magazine genres, such as western, mystery, horror and adventure. His work appeared on Secret Agent-X, Short Stories, Terror Tales, Thrilling Detective, Thrilling Mystery, Western Aces, Wild West Stories and Complete Novel magazine.
In Janaury 1940 he married his second wife, Reta Evelyn Brigham, who was born August 21, 1909 in Toronto, Canada. She was also an illustrator. She worked for Gertz, a popular chain of department stores in Queens and Long Island. They moved to 39-40 44th Street in Sunnyside, Queens, NY. He rented a separate art studio in Lower Manhattan at 66 Water Street.
On October 14, 1940 his daughter Martha Carolyn Morey was born.
On July 1, 1943 his son John Gregory Morey was born.
During WWII he was too old for military service, so he was among the few pre-war pulp illustrators to continue working during the war years. He drew interior story illustrations for Amazing, Analog, Detective Novel Magazine, Dime Sports, Popular Football, Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, and Science Fiction Quarterly.
After the war he drew Planet Comics for Fiction House, as well as Startling Comics and Thrilling Comics for Ned Pines' Better Publications.
On May 6, 1948 his home at 119-01 179th Street in St. Albans, Queens, NY, was damaged by a fire. Afterwards they decided to spend the entire year visiting Peru, while the home was repaired by construction workers.
In the 1950s he worked for Trojan, Standard and Atlas comics on Forbidden Worlds, Adventures Into The Unknown and Beware!
He and his wife were active in community affairs. They helped to decorate the annual Christmas pageants and Boy Scouts activities. They attended St Anastasia Roman Catholic Church in nearby Douglaston. His wife served as President of the Great Neck Woman's Club.
On August 26, 1952 they sold their home at 251-25 Hand Road in Little neck, and moved to 60 Knightbridge Road in Great Neck, NY.
According to the artist, "I think the best cover I ever illustrated was for Amazing Stories Beyond the Planetoids, by Edwin K. Sloat. My favorite author is Bob Olsen. I also like the work of A. Hyatt Verrill, Dr. E. E. Smith, and Harl Vincent."
In the 1960s his last illustrations appeared in the digest magazines Amazing Stories and Analog, as well as in men's adventure magazines Man-To-Man, Peril, and Untamed.
In 1962 they sold the home on Knightbridge Road and moved to 9 Valley View Road in Manhasset, which is also near Great Neck, NY.
Leo Morey died of a heart attack at the age of sixty-five, while walking on Valley View Road one block from his home on New Year's Day, January 1, 1965.
© David Saunders 2012