The acclaimed Los Angeles Times political cartoonist Paul Conrad
Paul Conrad was 86. He's perhaps best known for his cartoons mercilessly attacking Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, both as governor and president (for which the LA Times
' publisher received repeated complaining phone calls from both Ronald and Nancy). Conrad was also sued for libel by LA Mayor Sam Yorty in 1968.
Conrad's iconoclasm was part of an all-out effort by Otis Chandler
to push the stature of the Los Angeles Times
forward, helping to move it from what the paper in its own obit article describes as "a laughingstock in most of the country, because of its mediocre journalism and blatant Republican boosterism" to a nationally known, award-winning presence. Conrad himself won the Pulitzer three times.
A gallery of some of Conrad's work (from an exhibit at the College of the Canyons) is here
(has a skippable Flash intro). Although he retired from the Times
in 1993, he was working till near the end of his life; some of his recent cartoons are here
Doug Marlette, another great political cartoonist, put it best: "He lifts the skirts of the powerful over their heads and shows their asses to the world." Pat Oliphant said that Conrad was "the grandest example of consistently A-grade, blue ribbon, USDA-prime righteous anger that I can ever remember seeing in a cartoonist's work in the 50-plus years that I have been doing this sort of thing."
(It should be noted that although the obit articles are saying that Conrad wound up on one of Nixon's many political enemies lists
, he actually appeared on a list of George McGovern staffers and campaign contributors drawn up in 1972 by White House Counsel John Dean
and submitted for investigation to the IRS Commissioner. Dean's claim to the IRS Commissioner was that Nixon had nothing to do with this separate list being drawn up, which claim may or may not have stood up to subsequent scrutiny.)