'Family Circus' comic artist Keane dead at 89

Nov 10, 2011, 07:25 by R.E. Christian

Bil Keane, creator of the long-running single-panel comic "The Family Circus," has died at his home in Paradise Valley, Ariz., his son Jeff said. He was 89.

The New York Times confirmed the elder Keane's Tuesday death, but did not say what the cause was.

"The Family Circus," which has run in newspapers for more than five decades, was inspired by the Philadelphia native's home life.

"Everything that's happened in the strip has happened to me," the Times quoted Keane as saying once. "That's why I have all this white hair."

Keane started out as the cartoonist for the military newspaper Stars and Stripes during World War II, then became a staff artist for The Philadelphia Bulletin.

He created "The Family Circus" in 1959.

Jeff Keane, who worked with his dad on the comic since 1981, is expected to continue drawing and writing it, the Times said.

Tom Richmond, president of the National Cartoonists Society, told the newspaper the wholesome cartoon "was one of the strips that I, as a kid, never missed, because it was Americana on the comic page."

Keane's wife, Thelma, died in 2008. In addition to his son Jeff, Bil Keane is survived by three other sons -- Neal, Glen and Christopher; and a daughter, Gayle Keane.

Source: UPI