The World of Newspaper Comics Loses a True Artisan Nationally Syndicated, Pulitzer-Prize Winning Cartoonist Jeff MacNelly Dies At Age 52.
Cartoonist Jeff MacNelly died today at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore after a battle with lymphoma. MacNelly was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and underwent treatment at Johns Hopkins while continuing to work on his political cartoons for the Chicago Tribune, the popular comic strip, Shoe, and illustrations for Dave Barry's weekly column.
MacNelly, a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, twice recipient of the National Cartoonists Society's highest honor, the Reuben Award, and Sigma Delta Chi National Award, began his career at The University of North Carolina's The Daily Tar Heel and the Chapel Hill Weekly newspapers. It was there that he worked with Jim Shumaker, the legendary editor who became the namesake for his comic strip Shoe. In 1970, MacNelly joined the Richmond News Leader as their editorial cartoonist, and in 1977 began drawing the comic strip about the sneaker-wearing, cigar-smoking editor of the Treetop Tattler called Shoe. The strip appears in more than 1,000 newspapers around the world and will continue based on the wishes of Jeff MacNelly and his family.
Joining the Chicago Tribune in 1982 as editorial cartoonist, MacNelly worked in Chicago for a number of years, later working out of their Washington bureau and then from his home in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Flint Hill, Virginia. While at the Tribune, MacNelly won his third Pulitzer and in 1991 created Pluggers, the syndicated comic panel based on reader submissions. Pluggers is now drawn by Richmond Times Dispatch cartoonist Gary Brookins and can be seen in newspapers worldwide.
"Jeff MacNelly was one of the most-followed cartoonists in the business. From the daily op-ed pages to the comics pages, Jeff was not only an insightful commentator on our daily lives, but one of this country's most gifted humorists and artists as well," said David D. Williams, president and CEO of Tribune Media Services. "He will be greatly missed by all in the industry and the Tribune family, along with millions of readers and comics fans the world over."
MacNelly's work has been licensed all over the world appearing on a variety of merchandise, including apparel, greeting cards, books, calendars, and gift and stationery products. His artistic capabilities also extended beyond the newspaper pages, as a talented sculptor and painter.
MacNelly is the son of the late C. L. MacNelly, a prominent portrait artist and former publisher of The Saturday Evening Post, and Ruth Ellen MacNelly, the writer for Elsa Maxwell's newspaper columns. Born in Cedarhurst, New York, MacNelly split his time between Key West, Florida and Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. He is survived by his wife, Susie, sons, Matt of Singapore and Danny of Providence, Rhode Island. His oldest son, Jake was killed in mountain climbing accident in Aspen in 1996. A private memorial service is planned for Sunday, June 11, at a church in Washington, Va. Donations can be made to The Jeff MacNelly Award, University of North Carolina, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Campus Box 3365, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599. Fans can post their condolences on a message board at www.comicspage.com <http://www.comicspage.com> . The messages will be collected and forwarded to the family.
CONTACT: Jan Guszynski, 312-222-4717, or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Cathy Haibach, 312-222-5697, or email@example.com, both of Tribune Media Services.