Key, Ted 1912–2008

views updated

Key, Ted 1912–2008

(Theodore Key, Theodore Keyser)


See index for CA sketch: Born August 25, 1912, in Fresno CA; died of complications from bladder cancer after a stroke, May 3, 2008, in Tredyffrin Township, PA. Cartoonist and author. Key's primary life work revolved around the career of Hazel, the sassy maid who presided over the fictional Baxter family, dispensing wit and wisdom along the way, for fifty years. The cartoon "Hazel" was born in 1943, reportedly in a dream. She appeared in the Saturday Evening Post until 1969 and in syndication from 1969 until 1993, when the artist retired. Hazel could be sarcastic and was always outspoken, but her nature was one of good humor, and she was beloved by millions of fans. For five years in the 1960s she even starred in her own live television series, portrayed by award-winning actress Shirley Booth. Hazel was not Key's only creation, however. In 1959 he introduced television audiences to Mr. Peabody the wonder dog and his boy Sherman, members of the animated ensemble known as Rocky and His Friends. He also created the cartoon characters for "Diz and Liz," which appeared in the popular children's magazine Jack and Jill throughout the 1960s. Key also worked occasionally for filmmakers; for example, in the 1970s he created characters and stories for the films The Million Dollar Duck and Gus. He also wrote a handful of screenplays and radio scripts. Key produced several books in his career. Most of them were collections of his "Hazel" cartoons, from Hazel (1946) to Ms Hazel (1972), but there were others as well, including Squirrels in the Feeding Station: Ted Key's Suburban Survival Kit (1967). His cartoons also appeared in many popular magazines, including the New Yorker and Collier's.



Chicago Tribune, May 6, 2008, sec. 2, p. 5.

Los Angeles Times, May 6, 2008, p. B10.

New York Times, May 6, 2008, p. C13.

Washington Post, May 8, 2008, p. B7.