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Paul Conrad passes away at age 86

Three time Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Conrad has passed away at the age of 86 surrounded by family MSNBC reports.

He was fierce in his liberalism and expressed it with a stark, unmistakable visual style. Southern California political junkies for decades would start their day either outraged or delighted at a Conrad drawing.

The Times said in a Saturday story that its longtime publisher came to expect that his breakfast would be interrupted by an angry phone call from then-governor Ronald Reagan or wife Nancy, peeved by a Conrad cartoon that made them look foolish.

Conrad’s favorite target was President Richard Nixon. At the time of the president’s resignation, Conrad drew Nixon’s helicopter leaving the White House with the caption: “One flew over the cuckoo’s nest.”
“He always said he was most proud of being on Nixon’s enemies list,” David Conrad said.

On a personal note, I met Paul one time back in 1998 at the AAEC convention in Las Vegas. He was amiable and approachable for someone of his legendary status. He wasn’t the type to beat around the bush either. He was quick to compliment the state of Utah from which I hail, but equally quick to voice his displeasure with our conservative Republican Senator Hatch. His status as one of the great US editorial cartoonists is secure in history.

Community Comments

#1 Mike smith
@ 7:18 pm

As a young college cartoonist I used to visit Conrad at the Times building for advice on becoming an editorial cartoonist. The first time I met him and showed him some of my work he said: “If you ever want to get a job you better learn how to draw.” It was great advice.

#2 Matt Wuerker
@ 9:11 am

Like Mike, and a lot of other aspiring cartoonists, I got blunt and very helpful advice from Conrad. “Read, read, read! …and learn something about politics, as well as history so you know what you’re drawing about!” is what stuck with me.

The mixture of good humor and unmistakable passion for politics that he put into his cartoons, sustained over decades of drawing, made him, as Alan said, one of the great cartoonists in US history.

#3 Kevin Eason
@ 11:12 am

RIP Mr Conrad… Your voice will be missed.

#4 Joel Bader
@ 12:00 pm

I enjoyed Conrad’s book of cartoons dealing with Nixon and Watergate, The King and US. It contained excerpts from the transcripts of the Watergate conversations (edited) juxtaposed wtih Conrad’s cartoons. That collection ensured that I would be a big fan of his, even if I didn’t share his political views. Conrad is on my short list of great cartoonists with such individuals as Mike Peters, Pat Oliphant, Jeff MacNelly and Herblock (Herbert Block).

#5 Lawrence Rozner
@ 9:20 pm

My father, knowing that I was an aspiring cartoonist, introduced me to Paul Conrad when I was about thirteen at, I believe, the 2000 L.A. Times Festival of Books. He was signing books at the Times’ main booth and gave me some advice that I’m having some trouble recalling. About seven years later at the 2007 Festival of Books, I got to ask him a question at a symposium celebrating his work. I asked, with hesitation, whether he ever worried about what people would think of his work, and as I recall, he said bluntly that you simply can’t hold back on your convictions, that you’ll never get anywhere as a cartoonist if all you ever did was worry what someone might say about your work. Because of that, I have striven as hard as I can to not hold back on my cartoons and my opinions, and in doing so, developed a courage I never really felt before.

Rest in heavenly peace, Mr. Conrad. You shall surely be missed.

#6 Jerry Zee
@ 6:56 am

amen Lawrence!

#7 Charl
@ 7:04 am

Appreciation for this irnfmoation is over 9000-thank you!

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@ 3:15 am

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@ 4:22 am

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