William Aloysius Keane (October 5, 1922 – November 8, 2011), better known as Bil Keane, was an American cartoonist. He is most notable for his work on the long-running newspaper comic The Family Circus, which began its run in 1960 and continues in syndication.
“For millions of readers, Bil Keane reached out, day by reliable day, through the pure and distilled and comforting power of a single panel. Family Circus may play out within its distinctive circle, but to many fans, the debut of its midcentury family felt like a keyhole, then a fully inviting window into a reassuring world — an approachable, guileless realm of broad grins, wide-eyed observation and the winking malapropism,” wrote The Washington Post’s Michael Cavna.
Keane, the creator and longtime artist of Family Circus, passed away this week at age 89, and for all the pretense about the family-friendly strip not being cool or cutting edge, the procession of comments seems to suggest that there were indeed many who enjoyed his insights into family life.
“Daily, for more than half a century, millions of readers have received a serving of Bil (he really did spell it with one “L”) Keane’s traditional-value, homespun humor in his cartoon The Family Circus, published in recent years in nearly 1,500 newspapers,” wrote Dennis Hevesi of The New York Times.
Family Circus will continue with Keane’s son, Jeff, illustrating it as he has since he’s father’s retirement a few years ago (he has assisted on it since 1981).
And if you’ll permit us an observation, perhaps the world could do with a little more Family Circus and a little less “cool.”