Parkes, Terence 1927-2003

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PARKES, Terence 1927-2003


OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born November 19, 1927, in Birmingham, England; died June 25, 2003, in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. Cartoonist and author. Popular both in his native England and in the United States, Parkes was best known for his single-panel comics featuring his character, "Man," and for satirizing famous works of art. Exhibiting an artistic talent at an early age, he studied at the Birmingham College of Arts and Crafts for three years before serving in the Royal Artillery from 1946 to 1948. Returning to school, he decided to focus on book illustration after being inspired by the work of Edward Ardizzone. His sense of humor led instead to cartooning, and he began publishing some of his work in such periodicals as the Birmingham Gazette. He then turned to teaching, earning certification as an art instructor and getting a job at a secondary teacher in Peterborough in 1950. It was here that Parkes was given the nickname Larry by his students, who took the name from a character in the film The Al Jolson Story. Parkes decided to leave teaching when school administrators restricted his creative energies, and he worked briefly as a factory progress-chase in 1954. The next year he joined the staff of the Daily Express but was fired on the whim of his editor, along with a number of other employees. Fortunately for him, Parkes had been getting his cartoons published in magazines such as Punch and Daily Sketch, and he decided to make a go at life as a freelancer. Encouraged by Punch editor Russell Brockbank, Parkes created his "Man" character, a big-nosed husband who performs household chores with a peculiarly masculine verve—for example, he likes to mash potatoes with his fists. Parkes also did work for the television show Afternoon Edition, creating cartoons for the program from 1963 to 1964, and designed scenery for the Theatre Royal from 1973 to 1974. By the 1970s he had struck upon a new comedic angle by satirizing famous pieces of art in his cartoons, a talent that was especially appreciated in the United States and consequently collected in such books as Larry's Art Collection (1977) and Larry on Art (1978). His work was exhibited in galleries and earned him a fellowship from Birmingham Polytechnic. Parkes also tried his hand at ceramic sculpting with some success, but he remains best known for his cartooning. Many of his "Man" cartoons were collected in the books Man in Apron and Others (1959), Man and Wife (1965), Man in School (1972), and Man on Holiday (1974). More recent publications by Parkes include Art Collection (1982), Best of Larry (1985), Larry's Great Western (1987), Garden Lot (1988), DIY Man (1989), and the autobiography Larry on Larry (1994).



Daily Telegraph, (London, England), June 28, 2003.

Guardian (London, England), June 30, 2003, p. 19.

Independent (London, England), June 28, 2003, p. 20.

Times (London, England), June 27, 2003, p. 39.