Don Madden – RIP

Playboy cartoonist and children’s book illustrator Don Madden has passed away.

Donald Lewis (Don) Madden

October 14 (24?), 1927 – June (9? 10?), 2024

Don’s brother Tom revealed the death of the cartoonist and paid tribute to him:

Don Madden Left This Week for Studio in Heaven, But My Brother’s Cartoons Will Live on Forever.

Naturally any profile starts with Don’s decades of selling cartoons to Hugh Hefner. Tom writes:

Having been one of Hugh Hefner’s favorites, Don’s full-page cartoons appeared in Playboy Magazine every month for 50 years. The fame it generated kept him steadily busy right up until just a few years ago when in his mid-90’s he finally put down his pens and brushes and let his once frenetic life draw to a quiet close. He passed last week at age 96.

Tom listed some of the other magazines Don’s cartoons had appeared.

In his early 30’s, Don’s charming work appeared in where else? Charm Magazine, also in Seventeen Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Graphis, Good Housekeeping and TV Guide.

And gave us some early background on Don:

Don graduated from the Philadelphia Museum School of Art, which was his well-known concert violinist dad’s idea.  Our father, William J. Madden, was also a magician.  When he saw Don’s creative flair, he envisioned pulling a talented artist son instead of a rabbit out of his hat.    

Soon after graduating, Don’s talent manifests in his humorous drawings and illustrations appearing in magazines and in national advertising.  He became a well-known illustrator of children’s books, including “The Wartville Wizard.”

Besides being a talented artist, my dear departed artistic brother Don Madden was an effective writer whose works he drew from knowledge he had amassed from such diverse interests as nature, archeology, literature, music and history.

God bless my bro, and may he continue being artful in his new studio above.

Along with the two books shown above completely by him Don illustrated dozens of other books.

My Retro Reads showcases Don’s illustrations from one of HarperCollins Let’s Read and Find Out series.

Vintage Kid’s Books My Kid Loves has more samples of Don’s book illustrations.

Artvee has a few samples of Don’s advertising work.

Most of us here know Don from his Playboy cartoons.

For our more mature readers Who’s Out There? has a couple handful of Don’s Playboy cartoons,

while Pipe and PJs has a couple hundred Playboy cartoons by Don from the late 1950s to the early 1980s.

2 thoughts on “Don Madden – RIP

  1. The artwork is nice, but it is extremely frustrating not to be able to read the captions; even at maximum zoom most are too fuzzy to decipher. It’s not worth rescanning them, but perhaps transscriptions might be possible?

  2. Or follow the Who’s Out There and Pipes and PJs links provided
    to get to my source of the cartoons and read them there?

    They went to the trouble of collecting the Madden Playboy cartoons
    and I feel it is only right that they get their share of the credit.
    That is partly why I have doubled (showing Don’s character style) or
    tripled (showing Don’s frequent ornate decoration) down on the cartoons.

    The images here are for enthusiasts to say “oh yeah, I recognize Don’s art”
    or for those unfamiliar with Madden to get a taste of his style.
    The links to cartoon and book illustrations are for those who want more.

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