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 Jim Willoughby  (1928 - 2004)

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Lived/Active: California/Arizona/Ohio      Known for: newspaper cartoon, animation, sculpture

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Three Original Cartoons.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born at home in Toronto, Ohio, Jim Willoughby created hundreds of newspaper and magazine cartoons including for "Arizona Highways". One writer called him "the best cowboy cartoonist in the world." He also was an animation specialist and sculptor and earned so much recognition that in 1999, he received the Outstanding Alumnus Award from Toronto High School.

When Jim Willoughby was age nine, his parents were diagnosed with tuberculosis, and he was placed in an orphanage, where he did a lot of drawing but was teased for it as being the activity of sissies. His father died but the mother, recovering six years later, then set up a home to raise Jim and his younger sister and brother in Toronto.

Willoughby worked at the local steel mill and clay yards and then went to California, where he attended two years of college at the Pasadena City College and then two years at the Art Center School in Los Angeles. He also took four years of correspondence courses at the Famous Art School in Westport, Connecticut.

During World War II, he worked at Chrysler Corporation in Maywood, California as a salvage engineer on C-130 planes and then was an Intelligence Agent for the Romo-Woolridge Space Technology Labs. While at Chrysler Corporation, he started cartooning because of an assignment from the editor of the automaker's in-house-newspaper who requested some safety cartoons.

As a freelance cartoonist, he was a member of the National Cartoonists Society for twenty years. Of his work, sometimes a jab at local officials such as organizers of a City of Prescott, Arizona parking garage, some called him malicious. But his goal was "to carry the message of the day as he saw it. . . . I try not to damage anyone but rather try to get humor into the thing" he said.

In 1972, he also began an animation career and the next year took up sculpting, completing fourteen bronzes. In 1988, he wrote and illustrated his first book and in 1985, shortly after his arrival in Prescott, Arizona, began a career as Editorial Cartoonist for the "Daily Courier". There he was described by a co-worker as a dashingly handsome man in Levis, cowboy boots and leather vest" who had a "merciless ability to capture local leaders in caricature...he quickly nailed down foibles of local government bodies with deadly accuracy and savage satire. His artwork was flawless."

His move to Prescott reportedly was prompted not only by the beauty of the surroundings but by the fact that a good foundry was located there, which meant he could continue sculpting as well as cartooning.

Obituary, "Daily Courier", Prescott, Arizona, December 14, 2004. Information provided by family members.

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