Bil Canfield – RIP

Editorial and sports cartoonist Bil Canfield has passed away.

William Newton (Bil) Canfield
October 8, 1920 – January 30, 2020

sports cartoonist, editorial cartoonist


The New Jersey Star-Ledger is reporting the death of Bil Canfield:

William (Bil) Canfield, who entertained millions of newspaper readers as an editorial cartoonist, died peacefully on January 30th at his home in Phoenix, Ariz., with his daughter Susan at his side. He was 99.

Canfield was the sports and political cartoonist at the Newark News from 1946 to 1972 and at the Star-Ledger from 1972 until 1995. He also illustrated countless books, among them John Cunningham’s series on the history of New Jersey. At his son’s request, Canfield sat down 10 years ago and figured out how many drawings he had done during his career. It came to nearly 150,000. He was sketching up until his last year.

A brief biography from Syracuse University:

William Newton Canfield (1920- ), professionally known as Bil Canfield, is an American editorial cartoonist and illustrator.

William Newton Canfield was born in Orange, New Jersey on October 8, 1920. Canfield studied at the American School of Design in New York City from 1940 until 1941 and then served in World War II. As a Boatswain’s Mate First Class in the Navy, Canfield, aboard the USS Massachusetts, drew cartoons for the ship’s semi-monthly newspaper, The Bay Stater. Canfield was hired at the Morning Telegraph and Racing Form where he was a sports cartoonist until 1946.

Canfield then took a job at the Newark News as a sports cartoonist and staff artist where one of his influences, Bill Crawford worked. The News ceased publication in 1972 and Canfield became the editorial cartoonist at the Newark Star Ledger. While at the Star Ledger, the subjects of Canfield’s daily cartoons closely matched themes in the paper’s editorials.

During this time he also contributed editorial cartoons to the Red Bank Register under the name “Lev”. Canfield retired from the Star Ledger in 1995 but continued to draw cartoons for the Toms River Observer in Ocean County, New Jersey.

Canfield’s cartoons have been exhibited and included as illustrations in several books. Bil Canfield was inducted into the New Jersey Literary Hall of Fame in 1988.

above: “Your Deal, Mr Khrushchev!”


Hake’s Auctions has some about Bil’s sports cartooning career:

Bil Canfield worked briefly in the art department of the “Daily Racing Form” and “The Morning Telegraph,” honing his sports cartooning skills.  After service in World War II, Canfield returned to the drawing board in 1945 at the “Newark Evening News.” After five years (1945-1950) there in the art department, he became the paper’s sports cartoonist, a role he filled until the Evening News closed in 1972. Afterwards, he worked as the editorial cartoonist for the “Star-Ledger” of Newark, NJ for more than two decades. Offered here is a custom 14.25×19.75″ frame containing pen and ink and charcoal original art by Canfield, depicting team mascots/players for Detroit, Boston, Kansas City, Baltimore, Cleveland, Chicago and Washington, peering into deep and dark pit. A crumpled New York Yankee player lays at the bottom of the pit, a reference to the 1966 Season, in which the Yankees ended in last place in the AL.


below: Bil Canfield for the Sonoran News (2011 sports; 2009 editorial)


A couple State Of The Union cartoons by Bil:


Below: daughter Susan, son Craig, and friend Kathy celebrating Bil’s 90th birthday in 2010.

From the Sonoran News – Bil Canfield archives.

Rest in Peace, Bil.



2 thoughts on “Bil Canfield – RIP

  1. So sad. To think that so many papers used to have an art staff; an editorial cartoonist, a sports cartoonist, someone to do spots, etc. So many people grew up with this, and it’s all gone. Thanks for sharing Bil Canfield’s work, DD. I appreciate!

  2. That first panel sure does have the tone of some Eisner look to it. Sorry for this man’s passing. He did a lot of good stuff though.

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