Renowned cartoonist Gallo dies at 88
- Bill Gallo, treasured cartoonist and columnist for the New York Daily News, passed away Tuesday at the age of 88 due to complications from pneumonia. Gallo, a New York institution, worked for the newspaper for seven decades and was perhaps best known for portraying late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner as a Prussian general.
Mortimer Zuckerman, chairman and publisher of the Daily News, released a statement as part of the paper's coverage.
"His death closed a chapter in the storied history of The News," Zuckerman said as part of Gallo's published obituary. "The passing of our great cartoonist, colleague and friend Bill Gallo marks the end of an era."
Gallo, indeed, was a link to another time, both in the industry and in the city. He was born in 1922, and he started work as a copy boy for the Daily News shortly after graduating high school. Gallo wound up serving in the Marines during World War II -- where he saw action at Iwo Jima -- and enrolled at Columbia University upon his stateside return.
Gallo also returned to the Daily News around that time and began making headway in his profession. He told the Associated Press that he dreamed of becoming a reporter like his father, Francisco, a writer and editor at La Prensa. He was also inspired by cartoonist Milton Caniff, who drew "Terry and the Pirates," his favorite comic strip from youth.
Gallo created his own indelible characters, among them Basement Bertha and Yuchie, who represented downtrodden and devoted fans of the Mets. His most famous character -- General Von Steingrabber -- poked fun at Steinbrenner for his domineering ways and for his ability to co-opt so much of the newspaper's sports pages.
Hal Steinbrenner, the son of the Boss and the current managing general partner of the Yankees, released an official statement in which he expressed his best wishes and the perspective of his family.
"Through his work as a cartoonist and columnist, Bill Gallo was the voice of generations of New Yorkers," said the statement. "My father was a frequent subject of his work, and he had tremendous respect for Bill's talents. My family and the entire Yankees organization offer our condolences to his wife, Dolores, and the Gallo family."
Gallo's many drawings can be found in a Manhattan art gallery and at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. The veteran scribe told the AP that he regarded Michael Jordan as the most talented athlete he ever saw, and he lauded Joe DiMaggio, Sugar Ray Robinson, Wayne Gretzky and Jim Brown for being the best at their respective games.
In addition to his wife, the cartoonist is survived by his sons, Greg and Bill, his brother, Henry, and four granddaughters.
"People tend to make a lot about age, but I don't think of myself as an old guy," Gallo once said to the Associated Press. "My philosophy on age is: Don't bother me, I'm busy.