Dedini, Eldon 1921–2006

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Dedini, Eldon 1921–2006

(Eldon Lawrence Dedini)

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born June 29, 1921, in King City, CA; died of esophageal cancer, January 12, 2006, in Carmel Valley, CA. Cartoonist, artist, and author. Dedini was an award-winning cartoonist best known for his hundreds of contributions to the New Yorker and Playboy magazines. With a love for cartoons dating back to his childhood, Dedini began drawing when he was just five years old. Later, he went on to formally study art at Salinas Junior College (now Hartnell College), where he earned an A.A. in 1942. He also gained experience by working as staff cartoonist for the Salinas Index Journal and Salinas Morning Post. He then moved to Los Angeles, working as a janitor to pay for his education at the Chouinard Art Institute, from which he graduated in 1944. Dedini was next hired by Walt Disney Studios to work in its storyboard department. Meanwhile, he strove to build his own freelancing career, but first he was hired by Esquire in Chicago to be its cartoonist from 1946 to 1950. Moving back to the Monterey Peninsula in California, near where he was born, Dedini started his freelance career in earnest. He found regular work contributing cartoons to the New Yorker and, beginning in 1959, to Playboy magazine as well. By this time, he had discovered the importance of writing good gags, concluding that even if a cartoonist had excellent artistic skills, it did not matter unless he or she could write a good joke as well. Dedini consequently became just as accomplished a writer as he was an artist. Because of his Playboy work, he became well known for drawing voluptuous cartoon women; but, beginning in 1985, he also found a kind of fame drawing broccoli. He was hired by Mann Packing Inc. in California to create advertising pieces promoting broccoli in a humorous way, doing so successfully for the next nine years. In addition to his cartooning, Dedini was also an accomplished painter, winning particular praise for the posters he created promoting the Monterey Jazz Festival and the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance classic car show. A four-time winner of the National Cartoonist Society's best magazine cartoonist award, Dedini collected many of his cartoons in the books The Dedini Gallery (1961) and A Much, Much Better World (1985).



Chicago Tribune, January 16, 2006, section 1, p. 13.

Los Angeles Times, January 20, 2006, p. B11.

New York Times, January 14, 2006, p. B14.

Washington Post, January 25, 2006, p. B6.