Bill Gallo; sports cartoonist’s wit suited N.Y. Daily News
NEW YORK — Bill Gallo, a cartoonist and columnist for the New York Daily News, whose playful characters included depicting the blustering
Mr. Gallo, who worked for the paper for seven decades, died Tuesday of complications of pneumonia at White Plains Hospital, the Daily News said.
“The passing of our great cartoonist, colleague, and friend Bill Gallo marks the end of an era,’’ Daily News publisher Mortimer Zuckerman said yesterday.
“From the time he arrived at the Daily News as a fresh-faced kid determined to make his mark in the city and the world, to the very end when he battled his final illness with grit, courage, and grace, rarely skipping a cartoon or a column, Bill was a class act,’’ Zuckerman said.
Mr. Gallo profiled in ink and sometimes in words most of the great sports figures of the past century, going back to Jack Dempsey, Man O’ War, Jesse Owens, and Dizzy Dean and his
Among his memorable characters, aside from General Von Steingrabber, were Basement Bertha and Yuchie, who represented devoted Mets fans. The News said Mr. Gallo’s last cartoon ran in the paper on April 19. It showed Bertha window shopping and hoping to be invited to the royal wedding.
In a column last year, Mr. Gallo said he chose the General Von Steingrabber moniker for Steinbrenner because the Yankees owner grabbed so much of the newspaper’s space.
He once drew an overweight Muhammad Ali pushing his stomach before him in a wheelbarrow. Ali hung the original in his training camp as an incentive to get in shape for the Larry Holmes fight.
Mr. Gallo used his craft to address other subjects as well, including a tribute to the 9/11 firefighters and police officers and the devastation of the terrorist attacks on the city.
His drawings can be found in a Manhattan art gallery and at the Baseball Hall of Fame.
He told the AP that as a child, he dreamed of becoming a cartoonist like Milton Caniff, who drew “Terry and the Pirates,’’ his favorite comic strip. From age 5, the aspiring artist never left the house without a crayon and a bit of scratch paper.
Mr. Gallo was born in Manhattan and grew up across the river in Queens.
He started as a copy boy at the Daily News just after he graduated from high school.
He took a break from the paper to join the US Marine Corps during World War II, landing on Iwo Jima, where 6,820 of his Marine comrades died. New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, another former Marine, said his friend Mr. Gallo never wore on his sleeve the horror he witnessed at war.
“He just left his job at the Daily News to join the Marines and then came back when the war ended, no fuss, no muss,’’ Kelly said. “He traded his carbine for pen and ink and took no prisoners from then on.’’
Laboring for decades for a big city tabloid, Mr. Gallo at his drawing board seemed to favor blue-collar spectator sports.
Mr. Gallo said he regarded basketball’s Michael Jordan as the most gifted athlete he ever drew and rated baseball’s Joe DiMaggio, boxing’s Sugar Ray Robinson, hockey’s Wayne Gretzky, and football’s Jim Brown as the best in their professions.