PAUL CONRAD, CARTOONIST
By ROBERT D. McFADDEN
Published: September 4, 2010
In the Watergate scandal, he drew Richard M. Nixon nailing himself to a cross. He stood Dick Cheney at a vast graveyard of veterans, saying, “For seven years, we did everything to keep you safe.” And on the frieze over the Supreme Court, he etched the hallowed words: “Of the insurance co’s. By the insurance co’s. And for the insurance co’s.”
Huntington Library/Independent Television Service, via Associated Press
“No one’s ever accused me of being objective,” Paul Conrad said of his 60-year career.
Paul Conrad’s rapier editorial cartoons in The Los Angeles Times, The Denver Post and other papers slashed presidents, skewered pomposity and exposed what he saw as deception and injustice for six decades. Subjects squirmed. Readers were outraged and delighted. And he won a host of awards, including three Pulitzer Prizes.
“No one’s ever accused me of being objective,” he liked to say of his take-no-prisoners career, which branched into sculpture, books and helium balloons. At the age of 86, Mr. Conrad, who lived in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., died at home early Saturday of natural causes, The Los Angeles Times quoted his son David as saying.
In the tradition of Thomas Nast, whose caricatures hounded a corrupt Boss Tweed from power in New York in the 19th century, and Herbert R. Block, the renowned Herblock of The Washington Post, Mr. Conrad captured complex issues and personalities in simple pen-and-ink drawings that touched the major political fights of his era.
Wars, elections, scandals, the legerdemain of politicians and the shenanigans of charlatans — all were grist for the Conrad Truth Machine, a moveable feast that began at The Denver Post in 1950, went to The Los Angeles Times in 1964, and after 1993 was syndicated in publications that had printed his work for decades. He won Pulitzers in 1964, 1971 and 1984.
“Conrad’s name strikes fear in the hearts of men all over the world,” the humorist Art Buchwald wrote, with echoes of the Shadow and Superman. “Where there is corruption, greed or hypocrisy, everyone says, ‘This is a job for Conrad.’ ”
He was a Democrat with liberal leanings and relished attacking Republicans. His Nixon was a sly, secretive scoundrel in need of a shave. He made the Nixon “enemies list,” and his taxes were audited four times, without changes. Ironically, he later secured the Nixon lecture chair at the president’s alma mater, Whittier College, in 1977-8.
In 1968, Mr. Conrad drew Gov. Ronald Reagan of California on his knees retrieving papers marked “law and order,” “patriotism,” and “individual liberty,” from under the feet of former Gov. George C. Wallace of Alabama, a presidential candidate. “Excuse me, Mr. Wallace,” he says, “you’re stepping on my lines.” As president, Mr. Reagan became Napoleon, “The War Powers Actor.”
But Mr. Conrad also took aim at Democrats. President Lyndon B. Johnson and Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey were cowboys riding a Dr. Strangelove bomb down on Vietnam in 1968. Years later, when Robert S. McNamara expressed regrets over the war, Mr. Conrad drew the former defense secretary at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington (beside the names of 58,000 dead) saying, “Sorry about that.”
In the 1976 and 1980 presidential campaigns, Mr. Conrad rendered Jimmy Carter with a toothy grin of vacuity. He portrayed yuppies as rich brats, reporters as backward donkey riders and himself as a scruffy artist — a lanky drudge in shirt sleeves with a jutting chin, horn-rimmed glasses and thinning hair — who drew six cartoons a week, inspired by news.
“I decide who’s right and who’s wrong, and go from there,” he told Writer’s Digest.
Paul Francis Conrad and his twin brother, James, were born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on June 27, 1924, sons of Robert H. Conrad and Florence Lawler Conrad. Paul drew his first cartoon on the wall of a parochial school boys’ lavatory. After graduating from high school, he went to Alaska and worked in construction.
He joined the Army in 1942 and was in the invasions of Guam and Okinawa. In 1946, he enrolled at the University of Iowa. His grades were mediocre, but his cartoons for the college newspaper impressed teachers, who sent samples to The Denver Post. He was hired after graduation.
In 1953, he married Barbara Kay King. They had four children: David, James, Carol and Elizabeth. His wife, children and a granddaughter were listed by The Los Angeles Times as survivors.
With syndication, his popularity grew exponentially. Soon after his first Pulitzer, he joined The Los Angeles Times. He often focused on nonpolitical subjects. When Apollo 11 landed on the moon in 1969, he conceived a mailbox awaiting the astronauts. A 1964 vision showed the moon looming larger in four rocket porthole panels, the last at the landing site, revealing a parking meter with an expiration flag: “Violation.”
In 1993, Mr. Conrad accepted a buyout and left The Times. But he continued to produce cartoons that were syndicated for years.
He drew Mr. Nixon and George W. Bush side by side, chubby pals in beanies, called “Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber.” After the 2008 election, he depicted Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, the losing vice-presidential candidate, holding a smoking AK-47 in one hand and, in the other, the trunk of a dead G.O.P. elephant.
Much of his work was collected in books: “The King and Us” (1974), “Pro and Conrad” (1979), “Drawn and Quartered” (1985), “Conartist: 30 Years With The Los Angeles Times” (1993), and “Drawing the Line” (1999). A PBS documentary, “Paul Conrad: Drawing Fire,” was aired in 2006.
In the 1980s, he became a helium balloon enthusiast. He also sculptured bronze busts of presidents — George W. Bush is a 10-gallon hat atop a pair of cowboy boots with nothing in between — and other prominent Americans. Many have been exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
In 1991, he created “Chain Reaction,” a 26-foot mushroom cloud of chain links and concrete. It stands outside the Santa Monica Civic Center. “This is a statement of peace,” says the artist’s inscription. “May it never become an epitaph.”
CAMMIE KING, DAUGHTER IN ‘GONE WITH THE WIND’
By DENNIS HEVESI
Published: September 3, 2010
Cammie King, who as a cherubic little girl played the daughter of Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler in “Gone With the Wind,” then enjoyed something of a fan following at film festivals, died on Wednesday at her home in Fort Bragg, Calif. She was 76.
MGM, via Photofest
Cammie King and Clark Gable in a scene from the 1939 film “Gone With the Wind.”
Mrs. King Conlon, as she had been known since her marriage to Michael Conlon in 1971, was 4 when cast as Bonnie Blue Butler. Bonnie was the child of the manipulative Scarlett (Vivien Leigh) and the roguish Rhett (Clark Gable), who had a turbulent love affair in Atlanta during the Civil War. Appearing in just a few scenes, Bonnie died when she fell off her pony.
Her only other acting credit was as the voice of Faline, a young doe, in the 1942 Disney animated film “Bambi.” “I peaked in show business at age 5,” she frequently said.
Still, with the enduring popularity of “Gone With the Wind,” Mrs. King Conlon found a degree of celebrity at film festivals and celebrations for the movie. In 1989 she was one of 10 surviving cast members who went to Atlanta for a weeklong 50th-anniversary celebration of the premiere. In a panel discussion, Mrs. King Conlon said a 35-year-old man whom she called “a little person” had been her double in the scene in which she fell from her pony. She received $1,000 for her work in the film, she said.
Eleanore Cammack King was born in Los Angeles on Aug. 5, 1934. Besides her son, Matt, she is survived by a daughter, Katie Byrne, and three grandchildren. Her first husband, Ned Pollack, died in 1965. Her marriage to Mr. Conlon ended in divorce in 1976.
Mrs. King Conlon, who graduated from the University of Southern California, worked for the Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce and started its film commission.
Last year, after publishing “Bonnie Blue Butler: A Gone With the Wind Memoir” at her own expense, she was interviewed by The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, Calif. Asked about her role in the film’s popularity, she said: “I had nothing to do with it. I was 5. They said, ‘Stand here. Do this.’ ”
DAN MEADOR, FORMER KHOU WEATHERMAN
From Web and staff reports
Sept. 4, 2010, 8:21PM
Former KHOU-Channel 11 meteorologist Dan Meador died Thursday after a battle with cancer, the station reported Friday. He was 59.
Dan Meador worked as a videotape editor before becoming a meteorologist.
Meador was a longtime meteorologist with 11 News.
Colleagues remembered Meador as a nice man who worked behind the scenes as a videotape editor until he worked his way onto the air as a weekend weatherman.
Meador was one of the first local on-air personalities to acknowledge that he was gay, in 1996.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
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