Dennis Renault – RIP

Editorial cartoonist Dennis Renault has passed away.

Dennis Julian Renault
August 23, 1936 – October 19, 2022

The Sacramento Bee is reporting that Dennis Renault
has died in an accident near his Monterey County home.

Via AOL News, which ran the SacBee’s cartoon gallery accompanying the obituary notice:

Dennis Renault was The Sacramento Bee’s political cartoonist from 1971 to 1998. He died Wednesday in an accident in Fremont Peak State Park in Monterey County. He was 86.

Renault succeeded cartoonist Newton Pratt, whose 33-year tenure at the paper had started in 1938. Renault was followed by Rex Babin, who joined the staff in 1999.

Update: The Sacramento Bee article via Bado’s Blog:

Renault’s vehicle plunged down a steep embankment in the park while he and his wife, Marty, were preparing to camp in the area, his wife and the authorities said.

He began his professional freelancing career in 1959 and landed a weekly cartoon for the Ventura County Star-Free Press in 1962. 
Former Sacramento Bee executive editor Gregory Favre described Renault as “somewhat of an institution” in Sacramento. 
“He was tough, but he was tough across the board,” Favre said.

Below are the first two editorial cartoons Renault did for The Sacramento Bee in July 1971.

From a Monterey Herald profile of Dennis earlier this year:

Following his graduation from Salinas Union High School, Renault had gone to UCLA to major in graphic art and minor in political science, which primed him well to launch his career as a political cartoonist.

“That’s what happens when you leave the valley and go to UCLA,” he said, “followed by a two-year stint with the U.S. Army in Germany — all things that pulled me out of my roots and informed me about what was going on in the world.”

Renault’s freelance career led to cartoons in The Saturday Evening Post, Playboy, Look Magazine, and Saturday Review of Literature, among others. 

Below a couple 1960s Renault Playboy cartoons. More here (some NSFW).

The 1960s also saw Dennis creating political cartoons for Frontier magazine and others.
In 1966 he began contributing editorial cartoons to the John P Scripps chain until 1970/71. 

As mentioned above Dennis cartooned for McClatchy’s Sacramento Bee.
Those of us farther south in The Big Valley regularly saw his cartoons in The Modesto Bee, The Fresno Bee, and The Merced Sun-Star, all McClatchy papers.

When he retired in 1998 The SacBee ran a retrospective of Renault cartoons. Excerpts below: 


I remember the work well and commiserate with his family and friends.


4 thoughts on “Dennis Renault – RIP

  1. I’m saddened to hear about his passing. Dennis was an excellent cartoonist, a friend and a good guy, and his work was something I looked up to when I was beginning my career and doing cartoons on California politics… he was the undisputed king of those.

  2. I met Dennis around 1966 shortly before he and Marty moved to Sacramento and the Bee.
    He was a good friend and an inspiration to a younger cartoonist.
    And one of the true Good Guys!
    I’ll miss you, Dennis.

  3. Dennis and I were best friends since we were 10 years old. By the time were 12 were drawing cartoons during class when the teacher was occupied with the younger grades. We went to a two room grammar school where our class room housed the 5th through 8th grades.

    He remained my best friend through out our life. I was in contact with him on the phone the day before he and Marty went up to Fremonts peak to try out his old repaired VW camper.

    His death is an extreme loss to me. I feel as if I lost another brother.I followed and admired his growth from his begging 12 year old attempts to his becoming a great political cartoonist.

    As a teacher at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo and Art Gallery Director in the early 1980a, I invited Dennis to give a talk for our students and the community. A young man who was doing political cartoons for a local paper was excited to meet Dennis, as he was his hero in the business of political commentary.

    I grieve and will miss my best buddy. Chet Amyx

  4. My wife Michele and I met Dennis and Marty during the time we were house sitting for my sister and brother-in-law, as they are neighbors. Standing in Dennis and Marty’s garage I was always distracted by the Italia bicycle that was hanging overhead. A classic like Dennis. Last year we bought their Kessler kayak, we are just beginning to refurbish it with hopes of being able to have adventures like they described to us! We will miss Dennis and his stories, but hopefully be able to channel him on our kayak adventures!

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