Wednesday, November 02, 2022

George Booth 1926 - 2022

George Booth died Tuesday. He was 96. His wife, Dion, had just passed away six days earlier. My heart goes out to Sarah Booth, who was taking care of them in her Brooklyn, NY apartment. 

I had first met George at the New Yorker offices sometime in the early 2000s. It was Tuesday "look day," and we were all there to meet with the cartoon editor. I remember him being very tall and kind. We wound up sitting together at the traditional cartoonists' lunch that day where we talked about being fellow Midwesterners. He was from Missouri, and I was from Iowa and Kansas. From the beginning, he treated me like a colleague - even though I knew that the truth was that he was a cartooning god. But ... he would have none of that. 

I was fortunate to get to know him much better in 2010, when, while helping plan that year's National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards weekend, where he would be given the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award. 

When we talked cartooning, he told me that one thing he does, when it comes time to do the drawing, is draw specifics. In other words, he doesn't just draw a table, he draws the actual table in his house. It's more characterful than a generic table. He figured he had drawn most of the objects in their Stony Brook home over the years. 


Sometimes, when drawing up a batch of cartoons, he would laugh at his own cartoon. Out loud! OK, that may sound egotistical and/or eccentric. But Dion and Sarah confirmed. He said that when that began to happen, he started to sell more. 

I interviewed George about his early years in Hogan's Alley, and was fortunate enough to dine with them from time to time. Not enough! 

He was a gentle cartooning giant and was a truly wonderful soul. You can see a lot of this (and Dion and Sarah) in the wonderful documentary short, "Drawing Life," released earlier this year, by filmmaker Nathan Fitch.

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