Bil Keane’s wife, Thelma, has passed away at the age of 82. Bil based the Family Circus mom character after his wife.
“I give all the credit to my wife Thel who was the inspiration for all the cartoons,” Keane told the Republic. “She was very, very vital to any success that I had. When the cartoon first appeared, she looked so much like Mommy that if she was in the supermarket pushing her cart around, people would come up to her and say, Aren’t you the Mommy in ‘Family Circus?’ and she would admit it.”