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Times editorial cartoonist Paul Conrad dies at 86


Paul Conrad, whose fiercely confrontational editorial cartoons made him one of the leading political provocateurs of the second half of the 20th century and helped push the Los Angeles Times to national prominence, has died. He was 86.

Conrad died early Saturday of natural causes, surrounded by his family at his home in Rancho Palos Verdes, said his son David.

Conrad won three Pulitzer Prizes, a feat matched by only two other cartoonists in the post-World War II era, while both thrilling and infuriating readers for more than 50 years with an unyielding liberal stance, rendered in savage black and white.

Mayors, governors and presidents cringed at the prospect of being on the business end of Conrad's searing pen, while many Southern Californians made him their first stop as they sifted through The Times, the newspaper that was his principal home for nearly 30 years.

A full obituary will follow at

-- James Rainey and Claire Noland

Photo: Editorial cartoonist Paul Conrad of The Times. Credit: Huntington Library / ITVS

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He was a giant.

Paul Conrad stands alonside the giants of twentieth century editorial cartoonists. His uncompromisisng and always amusing stand against the excesses of the far right are sorely needed today.
He never bowed to the political pressure of the lunatic right and always skewered their hypocrisy and simpleminded appeals to the ad reductum logic of false patriotism.
His voice will live on in all those who tell truth to power

Wow. I'm sitting here and looking at a framed original that he signed for my dad. California hanging off a drilling platform, "First the hanging, then the trial", drawn in 1971 and then autographed to my dad in '76.

Paul Conrad was one of a kind. His witty and keen political insight will be sorely missed. I enjoyed him for years and regretted the day he retired. May he rest in a good place.

A great man with a keen wit. R.I.P.

Paul Conrad was a giant of a man as he was the recipient of many awards. His biting wit and sophistication was a treasure. I read him often and he opened my eyes to the political world of cartoons that were simply irreplaceable. Like Murray of the sport's world he was simply the best for all times. May you rest, sir, in a good place.

RIP to the great Paul Conrad. Amazing artist, thinker and agitator, the kind so needed in the world. Got to meet him at the Festival of Books a couple of years ago and shook the hand that crafted all his work. I'm glad I live in a country where his voice could be heard. He will be missed. I recommend all should see this:

RIP Paul. It'll be a long while before we see his like again.

The end of an amazing talent.
RIP Mr. Conrad.

'A Giant...left wing limousine liberal whose passing leaves us with another loss...oh for the days....Jack our Jack and now Paul has also 'moved on'....if only....

A committed hard line leftist and so what?

I'm saddened by his death. We need more cartoonists like him, especially now.

While working at PVGC I came to know the Conrads, both Paul and his wife were genuinely very nice people, I am sorry to hear of his passing.

RIP Mr. Conrad.

He was my favorite political cartoonists. The best of the best, I would argue.
When he worked for the Los Angeles Times, his cartoon was the second thing I'd see, after the front page.

The best political cartoonist of my lifetime. Godspeed.

Back when the L.A. Times was a serious newspaper (sorry!)
Paul Conrad's cartoon was my first stop each day so I could reply to my coworkers inevitable question - "Did you see Conrad this morning?"

He will be greatly missed.

When everybody read The Times......and talked about it (including Robert W Morgan)....Conrad was the first place tens of thousands of people went each morning....Then on to Jim Murray, then BC, The Wizard of Id...etc!
Never quite understood why he and The Times parted ways..............

Close to 40 years ago my high school history teacher, Mr. Garland on a weekly basis would to slap a pointed series of Paul Conrad cartoons on the overhead projector (our rustic form of PowerPoint in those days) to use as a talking points for what America was like during WWII and beyond. Genius move, Mr. G! Not only did it spark great conversation and future insights to major and minor events of American past in our classroom but it impressed me with Mr. Conrad's incredible ability where in a single frame art, political thought and social compassion would combine with such power, being worth more than a 1000 words. His frames were arguments for all Americans shaded with humor and grace which seemed to draw out the same in us as we would chuckle and debate our differences in kind. Seems to me that we could certainly use a bit of that "class schoolin' " these days. Thank you Paul Conrad for the lessons. History won't be the same without you.

Paul Conrad was the very best. How many can say that. And he was there when the times was also one of the very best in the world. I miss them both. Godspeed Sir!

If my father's blood pressure was ever 'low', one look at Conrad in the morning would certainly send it skyward I'm sure. As for me, Conrad is a giant and impossible to replace (my dad and I didn't discuss politics much. heh)

Frankly The Times never seemed complete after Conrad left. Godspeed.

Unquestionably, the greatest political cartoonist of all time.
When it was time to deliver a pie in the face to politicians, political parties or big business, nobody did it better.
Thanks for the memories and the laughter.......

For once I think it might be apropos to say, "It's Bush's Fault." We're gonna miss you and your wit.

Conrad was a gifted and talented artist for sure. Sadly, his "take" on issues and the way they were presented were purely personal, one sided and at the very least hateful. He never belonged on editorial staff. Fairness was not his objective. While his latent cannot be overlooked, neither can his ideological venom.

Another of the journalistic greats who graced the Times staff and made the Times a wonderful newspaper. Conrad was one of a kind, of course, and there could be no replacing him. Still, every time one of those journalistic giants dies, I am reminded of the continuing decline of the Times, no longer a great newspaper and perhaps not even an adequate newspaper. I appreciated Conrad's work over the decades, and his loved ones have my condolences. One hopes he is resting in peace in a place that does not warrant any Conrad editorial cartoons. i am grateful for Conrad's efforts and contributions. He sought to make this world a better place.

Paul Conrad was absolutely fierce, marvelous and a total inspiration to all of us working in the newsroom at the Los Angeles Times in the 1970s and 1980s. As a young reporter, hungry to arouse the public about all the outrages of our times, I watched in awe as Conrad with a few brushes of the pen, and just the right words, put it all together. He was impossible, biased, and totally fabulous.
Thank heaven we still have access to his work-- on our walls, online, in our hearts and minds.

I grew up reading Conrad and he was such huge inspiration to both laugh and question the actions of the "adults". When I was working in Washington, my mother would send me the Conrad Nixon cartoons which were infinitely better than the local cartoons. Everyone in the office wanted to see them. The day he resigned from the Times was the beginning of the descent of the paper. RIP sir, well done!

C. Williams



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