Silly Philly, by Bil Keane
Silly Philly, by Bil Keane

Self-taught comic artist Bil Keane is the creator of the longrunning newspaper strip 'The Family Circus. William Aloysius Keane was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and started his career in the late 1930s, putting out a satirical magazine with a couple of friends: The Saturday Evening Toast. After high school, he got a job with the Philadelphia Bulletin.

The Family Circus, by Bil Keane
The Family Circus, by Bil Keane

While serving in the Army in 1942-45, Keane drew for Yank magazine and he created the 'At Ease with the Japanese' feature for the Pacific edition of Stars and Stripes magazine. After the War, he returned to the Philadelphia Bulletin, where he remained as a staff artist from 1946 to 1959. Here, he created 'Silly Philly', a weekly Sunday page based on William Penn, the founder of Philadelphia.

Channel Chuckles, by Bil Keane
Channel Chuckles, by Bil Keane

In 1954, Keane started his humorous syndicated 'Channel Chuckles' television cartoon, which ran for 23 years. After the Keane family settled in Paradise Valley, Arizona. he launched his 'Family Circus' cartoon panel in February 1960. This very popular panel was inspired by Keane's own family life and is now widely distributed by King Features to about 1,500 newspapers. Later on, the artist was succeeded by his son Jeff, with whom he had also made the 'Eggheads' gag strip from 1981 to 1983. Bil Keane, who was president of the National Cartoonists Society from 1981 to 1983, passed away in November 2011, at the age of 89.

Family Circus, by Bil Keane
Family Circus, by Bil Keane

www.FamilyCircus.com

Last updated: 2011-11-11

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