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Doug Marlette Dead After Mississippi Car Accident

Several Daily Cartoonists have emailed me with some devastating news that Doug Marlette died this morning in a Mississippi car accident. From the police reports, Doug’s pickup hydroplaned off of the highway and struck a tree at about 9:42 a.m. this morning. He died instantly. Another passenger (the driver) was taken to the hospital.

Doug, 57, was the editorial cartoonist for The Tulsa World and had worked at The Charlotte Observer, New York Newsday, The Tallahassee Democrat and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where he won a Pulitzer in 1988. He also draws the syndicated comic strip Kudzu. He was also an author of two books, The Bridge and Magic Time.

From The Tulsa World comes a statement by Robert E. Lorton III, publisher and president.

This is a great tragedy, not only for the Tulsa World family, but for all who knew Doug. He was more than a great cartoonist and author, he was a tremendous human being. Words cannot express the grief that we are all feeling today. Our hearts go out to Melinda and all of Doug’s family.

He is survived by his wife, Melinda, and son, Jackson.

My heart goes out to his family and close friends. He was one of those cartoonists I’ve always wanted to meet. His book “In Your Face: A Cartoonist at Work” was in inspirational book that had a great impact on my decision to go into cartooning. I miss him already.

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Community Comments

#1 Charles Brubaker
July/10/2007
@ 1:31 pm

That’s a shame. I always enjoyed seeing his work in my newspaper. And I believe I also have a “Kudzu” book somewhere.

#2 R Thompson
July/10/2007
@ 1:32 pm

Oh! That’s so sad, and so shocking.

#3 Dawn Douglass
July/10/2007
@ 1:34 pm

This is very sad. He was a great talent. My heart goes out to his loved ones.

#4 Rob Tornoe
July/10/2007
@ 1:51 pm

I read In Your Face last year, and it was so inspiring. I still just can’t believe it, how quickly something like this appears out of nowhere.

Just crazy.

#5 nick galifianakis
July/10/2007
@ 1:52 pm

I was attending my cousin’s wedding in Atlanta years ago when I saw a billboard celebrating Doug Marlette’s recent Pulitzer. I was young and a bit aimless, but suddenly inspired.

That night I sat down with a ball point pen and drew my first political cartoons and the next day I cold-called Doug Marlette at the paper. He agreed to see me.

He sat there, patiently, and flipped through my first cartoons. Without saying a word he gave me what is still the greatest compliment a cartoonist can receive – he laughed at my pictures.

He finally looked up and said, “You think like a cartoonist. You should do this for a living.”

And now I do.

More conversations and guidance followed, but the gasoline he poured on a smoldering fire that first meeting will keep me forever in his debt.

Thanks for laughing, Doug. My warmest wishes go out to your loved ones.

Nick Galifianakis

#6 Ted Slampyak
July/10/2007
@ 1:59 pm

Nick, that’s a wonderful story. It shows so well how our profession progresses from generation to generation, as we are inspired and, hopefully, inspire others, too.

It also shows what a tremendous and generous person Doug Marlette was. I never met him, but now I sure wish I had.

Maybe more of us need to cold-call the cartoonists who inspire us, if only to say thanks.

#7 Cindermain
July/10/2007
@ 5:21 pm

This is terrible news.

I remember reading Marlette’s work when I was a kid, and following his editorial work as an adult. He was one of those cartoonists I also wanted to meet one day.

Wow…this is sudden. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

#8 josh
July/10/2007
@ 7:30 pm

Others have expressed this better than I, but I just wanted to express the shock in which I read the news today.

What a blow to his family, friends, other cartoonists, and newspaper readers.

#9 MJ
July/10/2007
@ 9:12 pm

Yes, truly sad. Marlette was always one of the few cartoonists work I kept up with. I Recall enjoying The American Idol toon he did where Simon was being dragged off by Amnesty International. Funny stuff.

#10 Journalista - the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » July 11, 2007: Thirty nine
July/11/2007
@ 6:21 am

[…] Alan Gardner has a round-up of news links. (Right: panel from a recent Kudzu Sunday strip, ©2007 Tribune Media Services, Inc.) […]

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