Don Wright – RIP

Editorial cartoonist Don Wright has passed away.

Donald Conway (Don) Wright

January 23, 1934 – March 24, 2024

From The Palm Beach Post: (Or via MSN:)

Don Wright, the former Palm Beach Post editorial cartoonist whose searing, meticulously crafted illustrations made him one of the most renowned political cartoonists of his era, died last month at his home in West Palm Beach. He was 90.

Syndicated in newspapers around the world and lauded with two Pulitzer Prizes, Wright challenged readers for a half-century with pointed barbs at world leaders, subtle humor and a distaste for hypocrisy that imbued his art with moral clarity.

The Palm Beach Post gallery of cartoons included in the above obituary.

Don’s early career from Prabook:

He had a job as a copyboy at the Miami News, from 1952 to 1956, which gave Wright his avid interest in cartoons.

While the Miami News refused to give Wright a job in the art department, in case he was drafted in the war, the newspaper did give him a job as a photographer.

Shortly after, Wright was drafted and served in the United States. Army as a photographer, before returning to the Miami News as its graphics editor in 1958. Shortly after rejoining the Miami News, Wright resigned.

Not wishing to lose Wright, the Miami News offered to publish some of his cartoons. By 1963, Wright”s editorial cartoons, on local issues, were regular features on the newspaper”s editorial page.

A couple early cartoons by Don were shown here a few months ago when we celebrated Don’s 90th birthday.

above: The Miami News reports Don Wright’s 1966 Pulitzer Prize win

Back to The Palm Beach Post:

In 1966, he won his first Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning, for a cartoon that captured the era’s Cold War anxieties. In it, two men in tattered rags cross paths between two enormous craters on what appears to be an old battlefield. One asks the other simply, “You mean you were bluffing?”

above: the May 22, 1979 cartoon that won Don the 1980 Pulitzer Prize

Fourteen years later, in 1980, he won his second Pulitzer, putting him in rarefied company. Only a handful of cartoonists have won the award multiple times. In addition to the two prizes, he was also a finalist for the prize five times.

Above cartoons are from a 1984 selection.

In 1988 The Miami News closed and Don moved a bit north to The Palm Beach Post for a 20 year stay.

From Editor and Publisher 2008:

Don Wright, who accepted a buyout from Florida’s Palm Beach Post, was the subject of an editorial yesterday by his editor.

Randy Schultz noted that Wright will continue drawing for the Tribune Media Services syndicate through the end of the year before deciding how much he’ll want to work after that.

Wright, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, drew more than 11,000 cartoons during his 45-year career at The Miami News (starting in 1963) and the Post (starting in 1989).


Wright continued to work for The Miami News until it ceased publication in 1988. In 1989, Wright moved to The Palm Beach Post where he worked until his retirement in August 2008.

Wright”s work has been syndicated by both the Washington (District of Columbia) Star Syndicates and the New York Times Syndicate. As of 2012, Wright continues to draw editorial cartoons distributed by Tribune Media Services.

Unsure exactly how long Don continued with the TMS syndicate.

The Palm Beach Post again:

For all of his eviscerations of politicians, though, he said the cartoon that provoked the strongest reaction was of a very different sort. It was a drawing marking Walt Disney’s death in 1966, a depiction of several Disney characters crying.

Decades later, he recalled, he still would receive warm reactions to it.

© Miami News

9 thoughts on “Don Wright – RIP

  1. What an extraordinary life. Don was a great journalist and a great human being.

  2. A pleasure to represent Don Wright’s extraordinary editorial cartoons in international syndication at Tribune Media Services as editor 1994-99. Don’s work was not always liberal and the cartoons were not always funny. He had a fluid line and a photographer’s attention to detail because he worked in graphics arts and photography before the Miami News agreed to run his editorial cartoons. In Palm Beach, he gave the Post a national reputation after meriting two Pulitzers and a finalist for many more. When we had dinner, it was only after he’d completed the next day’s cartoon at 9:30 p.m. His wife, a journalist, understood the deadlines. He skewered presidents and governors yet his caricatures of the
    Little Man showed citizens dealing with national issues. Don’s editorial cartoons stopped the reader flipping through pages, and started dialogue on critical public issues throughout his career.

    1. We who knew Don personally raise our glasses higher. He was one of a kind. Never another like Wright.

  3. Oh, man. I just woke up and haven’t had coffee and I think I wrote “Knight” instead of “Wright” in my previous comment.

    Is it possible for you to correct it? If not, please do not publish it.

    I will go drink some coffee …

  4. I didn’t know about the late Don Wright’s sad drawing during Walt Disney’s 1966 death.

  5. I really loved Wright’s work, and was quite blown away as an aspiring young editorial cartoonist when I saw his amazing books of his work, both by his concepts and his artwork. He was really one of the best ever.

    At the same time, though, I always felt terrible for Pat Crowley, who was essentially pushed aside to make room for Wright at the Palm Beach Post. I understand how he felt, and he deserved better, although I know he went on to do great work cartooning and teaching, post-Post.

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