"Family Circus" creator Bil Keane dies at age 89

Wed Nov 9, 2011 6:08pm EST
 
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "The Family Circus" creator Bil Keane, whose kid-friendly comic strip gave readers a funny version of his own life at home and became one of the most widely syndicated cartoon panels in the world, has died at age 89, his distributor said on Wednesday.

Keane died on Tuesday of congestive heart failure at his home in Paradise Valley, Arizona, said Claudia Smith, a spokeswoman for syndication company King Features.

"The Family Circus" first appeared in 1960, and Keane modeled its two parents and four boisterous kids on himself, his wife and children. The comic still appears in 1,500 newspapers although Keane's son, Jeff, has helped with it.

"If 'The Family Circus' has any social value, it shows parents that their children are normal," the late Keane said in a statement provided by King Features.

"And if there is a philosophy behind the feature, it's this: A home filled with love and laughter is the happiest place in the world," he said.

"The Family Circus" is characterized by traditional family values and a round border that Keane used on his panels, to emphasize the closeness between the characters.

The strip features the characters Daddy, Mommy and their children Billy, Dolly, Jeffy and P.J.

King Features said the comic is among the most widely syndicated panels in the world and appears in about 1,500 newspapers.   Continued...

 
<p>Cartoonist Bil Keane is seen with characters from his comic strip "The Family Circus" in this undated publicity photograph. Keane, whose kid-friendly comic strip gave readers a funny version of his own life at home and became one of the most widely syndicated cartoon panels in the world, has died at age 89, his distributor said on November 9, 2011. Keane died on November 8 of congestive heart failure at his home in Paradise Valley, Arizona, said Claudia Smith, a spokeswoman for syndication company King Features. REUTERS/King Features Syndicate/Handout</p>