Born December 3, 1919 died September 9, 2001. Longtime award winning Bay Area political cartoonist Lou Grant died in his Oakland home Friday night at the age of 81.
A self-taught artist, Mr. Grant created his cartoons from the Oakland Tribune newsroom from 1954 to 1986. His drawings were syndicated with the Los Angeles Times, and frequently appeared in Newsweek and Time magazines.
Mr. Grant learned his trade as a copy boy at the former Los Angeles Examiner, where he spent most his time looking over shoulders in the art department. As a teenager, he would mow lawns in exchange for cartoon lessons from staff cartoonists.
He enlisted with the Army in 1941 and served as an Army cartoonist at Fort MacArthur in San Pedro, Calif. He then became an inking assistant for Jimmy Hatlo, a Carmel cartoonist who drew the syndicated strip "They'll Do It Every Time."
Mr. Grant got a comic strip of his own shortly thereafter, a regular sports cartoon at the Milwaukee Sentinel he named "Swine Skin Gulch." He designed a logo of a seal swinging a bat for the San Francisco Seals Triple-A baseball club, and a fist with a lightning bolt for the Oakland Invaders football team.
He returned to his birthplace, Los Angeles, to write comedy for the original Duffy's Tavern Radio Show before moving to the Bay Area to work for the old San Francisco News Call-Bulletin as a sports cartoonist.
He later flourished at the Oakland Tribune with his political satire, and drew Nixon in a bandit's mask declaring, "I am not a crook," as well as President Kennedy standing on the globe kissing his son, John Jr., shortly after his assassination.
Mr. Grant's works were highlighted in a 25-year retrospective at the Oakland Museum in 1980. Some of his original cartoons are kept in the Kennedy Memorial Library, the Harry Truman Library, the Lyndon Johnson Library and the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
He refused a request to submit a cartoon to the Richard Nixon Library, citing political differences.
His art drew many professional accolades, including the National Headliners Award for Outstanding U.S. Editorial Cartoonist, and honors from the San Francisco Press Club, the Los Angeles Newspaper Publishers Association, the National Safety Council and the National Conference of Christians and Jews Brotherhood.
He is survived by his wife of 28 years, Florenzi Grant of Oakland; son Bill Grant of Pacific Grove; daughter Josie Grant of San Anselmo; and two grandchildren.