Bil Keane, creator of the “Family Circus” comic, died Tuesday (Nov. 8) in Paradise Valley, AZ. He was 89.
Keane first created the one-panel cartoon in 1960. And since then, characters Billy, Dolly, Jeffy and P.J. as well as parents Bill and Thel have become a regular read for fans. The comic is now featured in 1,500 newspapers. Books with collections of the strip have sold over 13 million copies.
In a 1998 interview with the East Valley (AZ) Tribune, Keane explained the inspiration for his comics.
“I was portraying the family through my eyes. Everything that’s happened in the strip has happened to me,” he said.
Keane’s work on “Family Circus” earned him numerous awards including National Cartoonists Society’s Award for Best Syndicated Panel, a prize he won four times. In addition to “Family Circus,” Keane also created the comics including “Channel Chuckles” and “Eggheads” which he wrote with his son Jeff.
Bil Keane is survived five children.