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Mauldin, William Henry 1921-2003 (Bill Mauldin)

MAULDIN, William Henry 1921-2003 (Bill Mauldin)

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born October 29, 1921, in Mountain Park, NM; died of respiratory failure January 22, 2003, in Newport Beach, CA. Editorial cartoonist and author. Mauldin, known universally as Bill Mauldin, is remembered with great respect as the creator of the cartoon characters Willie and Joe, who accompanied many U.S. soldiers on the muddy, cold, and uncomfortable trek through World War II. Willie and Joe represented the foot soldiers who bore the brunt of the privations of combat, always complaining yet always accepting their lot, desiring nothing more from life than to finish the job so they could go home. Through his cartoons in Stars and Stripes and other newspapers, Mauldin expressed the feelings of thousands of war-weary soldiers, from the resentment of draftees to the hopelessness of battle-scarred combat veterans and their mistrust of authority figures. Mauldin received his first Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning in 1945. He was also awarded a Purple Heart for an injury received in Italy, as well as a Legion of Merit. After the war Mauldin tried his hand at various enterprises, with mixed success. He appeared in the Audie Murphy film The Red Badge of Courage, wrote magazine articles, and ran unsuccessfully for public office. As an editorial writer at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, he won his second Pulitzer Prize in 1959 for a cartoon about the Soviet treatment of writer Boris Pasternak. Mauldin found a more comfortable home at the Chicago Sun-Times in 1962, where he produced widely syndicated cartoons for many years. He had long since retired Willie and Joe, but the targets of his barbed pen continued to be the people in power who he believed did not deserve to be there. Mauldin retired in the early 1990s, but he never slipped into oblivion. Even as he struggled with Alzheimer's disease, the creator of Willie and Joe received hundreds of greetings every day from veterans or their surviving family members. Mauldin's writings and cartoons have been published in several collections, including Up Front, I've Decided I Want My Seat Back, and Let's Declare Ourselves Winners and Get the Hell Out.



Mauldin, Bill, The Brass Ring (autobiography), Norton (New York, NY), 1971.


Los Angeles Times, January 23, 2003, obituary by Mike Anton, pp. A1, A18.

New York Times, January 23, 2003, obituary by Richard Severo, p. A24.

Times (London, England), January 24, 2003.

Washington Post, January 23, 2003, obituary by Claudia Levy, p. B6.

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