Bil Keane (Bil Keane)

Bil Keane

Cartoonist. Born William Aloysius Keane, Bil Keane is best known for his newspaper comic “The Family Circus” which began in 1960 and continues in syndication. He taught himself to draw while attending high school by mimicking the style of cartoons published in “The New Yorker.” His very first cartoon was published on the amateur page of the “Philadelphia Daily News” on May 21, 1936. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1945, drawing for “Yank” and creating “At Ease with the Japanese” for the Pacific edition of “Stars and Stripes.” After the war he worked for the “Philadelphis Bulletin” as a staff artist from 1946 to 1959, where he launched his first regular comic strip “Silly Philly.”  His first syndicated comic strip, “Channel Chuckles,” premired in 1954 and ran until 1977.  He served as the president of the National Cartoonist Society from 1981 to 1983 and was the emcee of the Society’s annual awards banquet for 16 years.  He was a four-time recepient of the National Cartoonists Society’s Award for Best Syndicated Panel, winning in 1967, 1971, 1973, and 1974.  In 1982, he was named the Society’s Cartoonist of the Year and received its top honor, the Reuben Award.  He also received the Elzie Segar Award in 1982 for his unique contribution to the cartooning profession and the Silver T-Square Award from the National Cartoonist Society in 2002 for his outstanding dedication to the Society and the cartooning profession.  In 1998, he became the tenth recepient of the Arizona Heritage Award.  He published numerous books containing “Family Circus” collections and contributed his illustrations to the books “Just Wait Till You Have Children of Your Own!” (1971) “Hey, Father!” (1973), “Daddy’s Surprise Day” (1980), “Ask Any Mother” (1991), “Just Ask Mom” (1996), and “Just Like Home” (2001).  He died as a result of congestive heart failure. (bio by: William Bjornstad)  Family links:  Spouse:  Thelma Carne Keane (1926 – 2008)* *Calculated relationship

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  • October, 05, 1922
  • USA
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


  • November, 11, 2011
  • USA
  • Paradise Valley, Arizona

Cause of Death

  • Alzheimer's disease


  • Holy Redeemer Cemetery
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • USA

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