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Artist/Cartoonist Mel Crawford (1925-2015)

Artist/Cartoonist Mel Crawford (1925-2015)

Sad news to report. Mel Crawford, a fine artist best known as one of the greatest illustrators of comic strips and children’s books relating to classic animation of the 1950s and 60s, has passed. 

Crawford, who lived in Connecticut, was born in Canada and served in the Canadian Navy as  fighter pilot in World War II. After a stint in animation at Disney Studios in the 1950s, Crawford found his talents better served as an illustrator for Disney, doing record albums, posters and Western Publishing’s Little Golden Books. His association with Western led to drawing and painting hundreds of books and comics – representing almost every animation studio and pop culture icon of the 20th Century. 

Among his many art jobs, Crawford painted Howdy Doody, Rootie Kazootie, Yogi Bear, Twinkles The Elephant, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Tom & Jerry, and Gerald McBoing Boing. He was the cover artist for The Golden Magazine and did much work for Jim Henson and Sesame Street. 

An strong influence to the current generation of animation artists working today, Crawford’s beloved work will be long remembered and cherished. His family reported that he passed away on Monday February 23rd. He was 89 years old. 

(Thanks to Darrell Van Citters for contributing to this post)

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Stuart Bond

Mel was a great guy a really good laugh and great to spend time with him I first Mel Crawford In Rockport at severnsouthsstreet the inn At breakfast must be over 10 years ago will never forgot the guy we brought him and his wife Ginnie to Scotland had a great time will be missed

Steve Carras

RIP, Not just books based on TV & Theatricl chartaters, Mel Crawford illustrated a lot of other Little Golden Books..RIP.

Alfons Moline

I already said that on a Facebook comment, but would like to say it here again: Mel Crawford was simply the Norman Rockwell of the children’s book market. His beatifully crafted illutrations have a special warmth that enables to catch the reader’s attention, and plung him/her into the atmosphere of the story. Hopefully somebody with good taste will produce in the not-too-distant future a "The Art of Mel Crawford" coffee table book!

Bill Janocha

Truly saddened to learn of Mel’s passing, yet we fellow CT cartoonists have not seen or heard from him in so many years. He was a fellow golfer in Mort Walker’s CT Cartoonists annual tournaments, when I would see him. He also drew a comic strip back in the late ‘ 80s with writer Jerry Dumas, for Creators Syndicate and gifted me two beautiful originals. I loved his book and comic book paintings and wish there was a book collection of just them, but the copyright issues would likely prohibit that. He was as kind and genteel in person as he was talented on paper and enriched the lives of all who saw his work.


So much beautiful artwork, but I never knew his name until now. Thanks for the tribute.

Mike Gabriel

A bowed head of reverence for one of the top influences in my artistic journey. He was the top of the mountain and my kid eyes stared deeply at every page and cover he created. His art ignited my passion for cartoons. Thank you, Mel, Mr Crawford for your service in WWII as well as your service inspiring a generation of Crawford fans across the globe.

Rudy Agresta

One of the all time greats and a favorite of mine…he will be sorely missed…my condolences to his family…

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