Skip to comments.Mad Magazine Cartoonist Dave Berg, 81, Dies in L.A.
Posted on 05/24/2002 7:54:55 PM PDT by Hillarys Gate Cult
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Dave Berg, whose irreverent and affectionate cartoons for Mad magazine captured "The Lighter Side" of life in suburban America for more than 40 years, has died, his daughter said on Friday. He was 81.
Berg, whose expertly drawn strips largely ignored current events and political issues of the day to poke fun at the foibles of American life, died on May 17 of cancer at his home in the Los Angeles suburb of Marina del Rey, Nancy Berg said.
She said her father, who had been battling cancer and would have turned 82 on June 12, died shortly after midnight with his wife of 52 years, Vivian, and their two children at his side.
The Brooklyn, New York-born Berg began freelancing for Mad magazine in 1956 and started his best-known feature, "The Lighter Side of..." five years later, skewering such staples of everyday American life as a trip to the car mechanic or battles over the living room television set.
The strip often skewered Berg's own family, headed by his cranky alter-ego, Roger Kaputnik. Vivian Berg, who was also a cartoonist, and his children also figured in the plots.
Nancy Berg said her father's comic strips so expertly pegged the human condition that psychologists would keep them on file to show frustrated patients.
"They would keep them handy so they could bring them out and say, 'Look, you're not the only one. Even Dave Berg is writing about this,"' she said.
Nancy Berg said that her father's sense of humor spilled over into his personal life, where he was known for great warmth. He was a minor celebrity in New Rochelle, New York, where he grew up and where the family lived before moving to California, she said.
Berg, who was born in 1920, showed a penchant for drawing as a young boy and attended Cooper Union Art School in New York before getting a job, along with artist Jules Feiffer, in the studio of comic artist Will Eisner.
After World War Two, where he served in the Army Air Corps and as a war correspondent, Berg worked for "Spider-Man" artist Stan Lee before joining Mad.
Nancy Berg said a public memorial service would be planned next month for her father, whose remains have been cremated.
Those Mad guys are a breed like no other. There is a story about when their only subscriber in Hati did not renew his subscription, the entire Mad staff flew down to the island and talked the guy into renewing.
Darnnit, we've lost two great ones in the past few days: Sam Snead, and now Dave Berg.
Bill Gaines, Don Martin and now Dave Berg... man, am I feeling old.
Ed (who wanted to draw like George Woodbridge... and still can't)
When he was a young boy, my son, now 19 "appropriated" my issues of MAD when he was a young boy. Probably one of the reasons he still thinks his old mom is "cool" to this day.
Well done & RIP, Dave.
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