I just found out that my friend Bil Keane, the legendary cartoonist and creator of “The Family Circus,” died yesterday of congestive heart failure at the age of 89.
Bil started his career as a messenger fro the Philadelphia Bulletin before serving in the Army, drawing for Yank and Pacific Stars and Stripes. It’s hard to believe that Bil starting drawing the adventures of Billy, Jeffy, Dolly and P.J. all the way back in 1960. After nearly a half century of continuous publishing, Family Circus is in over 1,500 newspapers across the country.
Bil was also the president of the National Cartoonists Society from 1981 to 1983 and was the emcee of the Society’s annual awards banquet for 16 years. He was also named the Society’s Cartoonist of the Year and received the Reuben Award in 1982.
Bil’s talented son Jeff, who has been working on Family Circus for many years, will continue the legendary panel.