Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bill Gallo 1922-2011

Above: Burne Hogarth and Bill Gallo in Costello's Bar in the 1970s.

Bill Gallo died Tuesday, May 10th. The cause was complications arising from pneumonia at White Plains Hospital. He was 88.

A sports cartoonists and columnist for The New York Daily News for seven decades, Bill Gallo began work as a copy boy after he graduated from high school in 1941.

From the AP obituary:

"He told the AP that as a child, he dreamed of becoming a star reporter like his father, Francisco, a byline writer and editor at La Prensa, New York's prestigious Spanish language newspaper.

"He also dreamed of becoming a cartoonist like Milton Caniff, who drew 'Terry and the Pirates,' his favorite comic strip. From age 5, the aspiring artist never left the house without a crayon and a bit of scratch paper."

He left the News to serve in WW2. He was a Marine, serving in Iwo Jima. Returning home, he enrolled in Columbia on the GI Bill and continued to work at the paper.

Bill was a fixture in NYC. And he was also one of the nicest guys you'd ever meet.

In 2005 I helped Bill organize a group of cartoonists to create a mural on the wall of The Overlook Restaurant (formerly Costello's) in New York City. The mural (it's the one above Mssrs. Hogarth and Gallo) would serve as a counterpart to the famous wall decorated by cartoonists a generation earlier. Our efforts brought together a number of legendary artists and received significant media coverage.

I learned very quickly that Bill is a WYSIWYG kinda guy - a real What You See Is What You Get person. No pretense. No baloney. I like these kinda guys. I didn't know it at the time, but he chatted with some of his NCS friends (most of whom, like him, were past Presidents) and asked them to consider me for the National Board.

And that was Bill. A kind, talented fellow who was doing what he loved.

"'People tend to make a lot about age, but I don't think of myself as an old guy,' Gallo once told the AP. 'My philosophy on age is: don't bother me, I'm busy.'"

25th Annual Reuben Awards Dinner, Grand Ballroom, The Plaza, New York City, April 21, 1970

25th Annual Reuben Awards Dinner, Grand Ballroom, The Plaza, New York City, April 21, 1970

Above: one of Bill Gallo's popular "Sports Nights" in 1976.

The NCS Org Chart for 1976 as drawn "by hand" by Mac Miller and Sam Norkin.

From a series of drawings by Al Scaduto spoofing the past NCS Presidents.

Related Links:
Associate Press obituary
Daily News: Bil Gallo's Greatest Moments slideshow
Mike Lupica

1 comment:

Gerry said...

Mike, I am as shocked by this as you. Vick and I became good friends with the Gallos over the last few years only because you called 4 or 5 years ago to ask if we could give them a lift to Bunny Hoest's party. We became annual traveling companions as well as visitors at each others' homes when he could spare the time away from the drawing board. I had just phoned them the night before last to see if they wanted a lift to Boston.