Sunday, November 04, 2007

Jerry Warshaw 1928-2007

One of the P&C's most colorful recent members died last week, and local columnist, Mark Brown, has written a wonderful reminiscence in the Chicago SunTimes that can be found here

In the late nineties, Jerry spent several years with us doing sculpture back in the coach house -- which gave him a perfect platform for him to carry on about his various enthusiasms in life.

He was a great comedian -- and I'm afraid that one time we pulled a joke on him.

When he stepped out of the studio for a few minutes, we changed the model's pose -- from lying on her right side to lying on her left. He soon came back to the studio -- and took a long, puzzled look at his sculpture -- finally interrupted by our laughter.

He was mostly a graphic artist -- but he also did a cartoon-sculpture project once upon a time -- and he gave us a full rundown of the early days of Playboy Magazine (why was Hef such a genius? Because "he knew to get the right people and then left them alone to do what they did best"

We got the stories of Jerry in the army (he was drafted into the Army during the Korean War) and the stories of Jerry with his first sports car rallies back in the fifties. His more recent stories concerned the barrage of cartoons he drew for the Evanston weekly in its relentless crusade against Northwestern University -- and, of course, we were always entertained by his encyclopedic knowledge of Civil War History - especially Abraham Lincoln.

Jerry worked as a cartoonist his entire life -- but that didn't leave him with any kind of a pension -- or any kind of property -- so his final years took a lot hustle to scrape by.

But Jerry seemed unfazed by it all -- and he refused to consider himself a senior citizen.

"A man is as young as he feels" , he always said -- and he always felt like a kid -- and he was still taking his regular swims in Lake Michigan.

But still -- it was getting more and more difficult for him to make it down to the Academy from Evanston -- or even to afford to keep up with the dues. A few years back, he won a year's scholarship for members who qualify. After that, we just didn't see so much of him any more.

For those who have a further interest in his legacy -- like many other P&C members -- he has added an item to the P&C bibiliography: "The Funny Drawing Book" -- a kind of how-to book for fledging cartoonists.

Demonstration portrait
of Jerry Warshaw
painted by visiting artist,
Greg Kreutz.


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