Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Michelle Urry, RIP.

You know, there aren't many Cartoon Editors left. They were always thin on the ground in the UK and the Features Editor, who was obviously above such lowly things, usually handled the cartoons over here. I remember there was a good man at The Daily Express/Star, called Gerald Lip, but he was one of the few. The Punch cartoon Editor was, if memory serves, Geoffrey Dickinson and then Ken Taylor, and then goodness knows who else - there was quite a few of them. You know, I suspect the job has never been taken seriously over here, but then neither have cartoons.

The US has always treated its cartoonists better, and has always taken the job of Cartoon Editor, and indeed its cartoonists, much more seriously. Even today, the New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, The Saturday Evening Post, Readers Digest and other titles all have a dedicated Cartoon Editor. Playboy did too, and Michelle Urry was the Playboy Cartoon Editor, and boy was she good.

Michelle Urry liked cartoons and cartoonists. She seldom just stuffed a rejection slip into an envelope and seemed never too busy to write a quick personal note to cartoonists who took the trouble to submit cartoons to her. I have personal experience of her trying to talk 'Hef' into buying a cartoon she liked, but he wasn't keen on. She often went into bat for cartoonists and as a result she had a regular and loyal stable of contributors. And she was, in turn, loyal to them.

Michelle Urry acheived many things in her life, but she will be remembered by many of us a great Cartoon Editor, with a great eye for talent. She could speak with great authority on Jack (Plastic Man) Cole (a yardstick of cartooning knowledge if ever there was one) and helped launch Kliban's cats (still making millions every year in revenue). She launched and maintained many a cartoonists career in this every shrinking marketplace, pointing out that she bought $1,000,000 worth of cartoons every year for Playboy. Somehow I think she will be sadly missed, and she certainly won't be easily replaced.

The New York Times Obituary.

1 comment:

TimH said...

Nice write up Rod.
I never had any dealings with her, but so many cartoonists have spoken very highly of her - she sounded like a very capable and encouraging Cartoon Editor.