Friday, October 21, 2011

Kevin McVey RIP

Kevin McVey, award-winning cartoonist for the Bergen Record, died peacefully on October 19, 2011. He was 83 years old. Services will be held on Sunday. There will also be Service of Committal on November 5th. More information here.

Born in the Bronx, Kevin McVey served in the Marine Corps in World War II, where he "stormed the beach at Waikiki."

After an honorable discharge, he attended the Art Career School, which was located on the top floor of the Flatiron Building, NYC.  His first art job was with the Ted Bates Advertising Agency. While working there, Kevin met Betty. They would be married for 52 years.

His next position was with the Bergen Record, drawing illustrations,cartoons and theatrical caricatures. His work was syndicated by the LA Times. His career spanned 26 years. During that time, Ho Ho Kus, NJ residents Kevin and Betty raised a son and daughter, Kitt and Christopher. Kevin made the time to co-found what would be the New Jersey National Cartoonists Society chapter and visited Vietnam with other cartoonists as part of the NCS-USO tours.

He won the National Cartoonists Society Division Award for Theatrical Caricature in 1984. Although he retired in 1989, Kevin did not rest. He continued to freelance and was an active hiker, with Harriman State Park being a favorite destination. He also loved sailing. The family welcomed their grandchildren, Kealey and Cooper.

Above: an undated Kevin McVey caricature of actress Valerie Harper, via the OSU Cartoon Research Library.

 Below is a remembrance from Tom Stemmle, National Cartoonists Society New Jersey Chapter Chairman:

  It's with great sadness that we announce the passing of Kevin McVey, co-founder, and a major force of what was later to become the New Jersey Chapter of the NCS. Kevin died late Wednesday. He had been quite ill since summer. He was 83 years of age.

    Kevin, along with the late Frank Evers, who was an editorial cartoonist for The New York Daily News and The New York Post, started gathering New Jersey cartoonists together in the mid-sixties to dine and talk shop. They called themselves "The Monthly Munchers." The group also pooled the talent amassed for civic good and visited hospitals, military installations and veterans hospitals. Some did the same on a national and international level, working with the NCS as part of a USO team.

    The Monthly Munchers received their charter in 1999 and became an official NCS Chapter. Kevin has served as a chapter chairman of the group. He was also the National Membership Chairman for the NCS for a few years.

    Kevin was born in the Bronx, he served in World War II, as a Marine in the Pacific, toward the end and a few years past 1945.

    After art school he began his career in advertising but realized his true love was freelancing. A few years later he was hired by The Bergen Record in New Jersey. He filled various positions as staff artist at the paper, which included editorial cartooning, court reporting as a sketch artist, and he created a weekly comic strip entitled "Castaway Corner." Soon he found his real niche when he was asked to cover Broadway and off-Broadway theater. Kevin's great ability to caricature made him a natural at this job. It led to national syndication too, when the L.A. Times asked him to do a feature called "Celebrity Cookbook". The Bergen Record, during this period was the largest circulated New Jersey evening paper. He thus became a part of a trio of artistic giants in the New York Metro area who covered the theater. In 1984 Kevin received a special NCS Reuben Category Award for Theater Art, beating out his peers Sam Norkin of the NY Daily News and Al Hirschfeld of the New York Times!

    In 2007, The NJ Chapter awarded Kevin the Tim Rosenthal Award for his over 40 years of dedicated service to the chapter. It was the first time in chapter history that an award was presented to a fellow member, solely voted on by his peers. It was more than well deserved! His unique and wonderfully funny meeting notice fliers sent monthly to members were part of the fabric of the chapter.

    It was an honor to call Kevin a friend and mentor. We, and the NCS, as a whole, will miss him dearly.

-Tom Stemmle, Chair
NJ Chapter

Above: October 24, 2007: Kevin McVey receives the Tim Rosenthal Award at the National Cartoonists Society New Jersey Chapter meeting. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to the Ho-Ho-Kus Volunteer Ambulance Corp. P.O. Box 81, Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ 07423, would be appreciated.

Kevin McVey obituary

Tom Spurgeon Comics Reporter Obituary

Below: "Kevin McVey 'Theater Artist'" by Chip Defaa of The Record as reprinted in Cartoonist PROfiles #63, September 1984:

1 comment:

Gerry said...

Mike, thanks for this piece on McVey. I had been unaware of his work but those are some beautiful caricatures!