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Addison Morton (Mort) Walker

Artist/cartoonist. Born: 1923.

Mort Walker holding drawing of Beetle Bailey and Sarge.If long-term public admiration for art work is at least a part of a successful artist's measure, then Mort Walker is one of the most successful artists in the world. Born in El Dorado, Mort came by his artistic talents honestly. His father was an architect and his mother was a designer and illustrator.

Mort began selling cartoons at the age of 12 and was a designer at Kansas City's Hallmark Cards at 19. After service in Europe during World War II he worked for the Dell Publishing Company and also sold art work to the Saturday Evening Post and the New Yorker magazines.

In 1950 Mort created a comic strip about a young college student named Spider who wore his cap down over his eyes. Editors at the King Features Syndicate liked the character but told him to change his hero's name. So, he became Beetle Bailey. The popularity of the strip grew very slowly. Mort decided to enlist his character into the Army, but kept his hat pulled down over his eyes. New characters were introduced, such as Sarge, modeled after Mort's sergeant in the Army and Lieutenant Fuzz, who was modeled after Mort. More characters were added to the strip. Their humorous personalities were mirrored by their names. General Halftrack, Lieutenant Flap, Plato, Rocky, Killer, Zero, Sarge's dog Otto and numerous other characters make Camp Swampy a constantly funny place.

In addition to Beetle Bailey, Mort is also involved in the production of the comic strip Hi and Lois (Beetle's sister) and other projects. His readership is estimated at 150 million. Mort has written over 100 books. His work has been exhibited all over the world. He has won many awards and has worked to encourage the enjoyment of cartoons.

Entry: Walker, Addison Morton (Mort)

Author: G. Joseph Pierron

Author information: Judge Pierron serves on the Kansas Court of Appeals and has an interest in Kansas history.

Date Created: November 2012

Date Modified: December 2012

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.