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Former SN cartoonist dies of brain tumor

September 16, 2007


For many in the 1960s, Phil Frank’s cartoons were something to look forward to when students opened The State News.

Phil Frank, a political cartoonist and 1965 MSU graduate, died Wednesday from a brain tumor. He was 64.

Richard Best, a 1969 graduate, read Frank’s editorial cartoon every day.

“It was during Vietnam and his cartoons were exceedingly clever and very on point to the war protests,” Best said.

David Wagner, Frank’s roommate from 1963-64, said Frank caught the humorous aim of what was happening on campus at the time.

“Everybody could identify with him,” Wagner said. “He decorated our room with cartoons. It was like living in an art gallery.”

Frank was a political cartoonist at the San Francisco Chronicle for more than 30 years and a resident of Sausalito, Calif.

Bob Baldori, a longtime friend and co-worker of Frank’s at the paper, remembers the partnership they had with Baldori writing and Frank drawing the advertisements and cartoons.

“You could read some of his cartoons three or four times and get a different laugh out of them each time,” he said.

Baldori, who is an attorney in Okemos, kept in touch with Frank and said they were working on pitching some of his cartoons for television.

“His death was so unexpected that I’m looking at my shelves in my office and looking at all the projects we were going to work on in the future,” he said.

Cartoons weren’t Frank’s only area of expertise, said his wife, Susan Frank.

“His life was filled with a variety of different forms of art. When he wasn’t drawing he was working on restoring old automobiles and one ended up in the Smithsonian,” Susan Frank said.

He also collected historical artifacts and put them into collages, she said.

“He was a man of many interests and very dimensional … he will be missed by literally hundreds of people that he’s touched over the years,” Susan Frank said.

He is survived by his wife, Susan, of Sausalito, Calif., and two children, Phil Frank of Portland, Ore., and Stacy Frank of Santa Cruz, Calif.


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