About Tony Auth

Tony Auth’s cartoons, covering the politics and culture of the city of Philadelphia, the state of Pennsylvania, and the country have influenced public opinion and politicians for more than 40 years. “Our job is not to amuse our readers,” Auth said when he accepted the 2005 Herblock Prize for excellence in editorial cartooning. “Our mission is to stir them, inform and inflame them.”

Tony was born on May 7, 1942 in Akron, Ohio.  He was bedridden for eighteen months at the age of five.  It was during this period that he began drawing, inspired by comic strips, children’s books and radio dramas.

At the age of nine, Tony moved with his family to Los Angeles. Tony attended UCLA, earning a bachelor’s degree in biological illustration in 1965.  Upon graduation he became a medical illustrator at Rancho Los Amigos Hospital, a large teaching hospital associated with the University of Southern California.

While working as a medical illustrator, Tony began doing political cartoons. Initially he did one a week for a weekly alternative newspaper, and then, after being encouraged by Paul Conrad at the Los Angeles Times, three a week for the UCLA Daily Bruin.

Six years later, in 1971, Auth was hired as staff editorial cartoonist by The Philadelphia Inquirer,where he worked for 41 years. He decided to broaden his range of commentary, and in 2012 he became the first Digital Artist in Residence at WHYY’s NewsWorks.org. At WHYY working on both cultural and political subjects, he pioneered a new form of online cartooning using an app on his iPad, while continuing to produce a steady stream of awarding-winning cartoons that appear first onNewsWorks before syndication across the country.

Over the course of his career, Auth has won many awards, including five Overseas Press Club Awards, the Sigma Delta Chi award for distinguished service in journalism, the Thomas Nast Prize, the Herblock Prize, and the Pulitzer Prize. In 2012, “To Stir, Inform, & Inflame: The Art of Tony Auth”, a museum retrospective of more than 150 of his cartoons and book illustrations was organized by the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and was seen by more than 85,000 visitors. A companion book, with a foreword by Jules Feiffer was published the same year. It joins two previous published collections of his political cartoons, and eleven children’s books he has illustrated. A Philadelphia History Museum exhibition, “AUTHentic Philly: Tony Auth’s Cartoons of Philadelphia” which opened in 2013 proved to be so popular it was held over four months.  On September 10, 2014 a new exhibition, “Front Lines: Treasures from the Tony Auth Archive” opened at the Philadelphia Foundation to kickoff a fund to acquire and maintain Tony’s archive of cartoons, paintings, prints, sketchbooks and ephemera at Temple University.

Tony is survived by Eliza Drake Auth, a realist landscape and portrait painter, and their two daughters, Katie and Emily.


About Tony Auth — 23 Comments

  1. Tony: You have to update your info on the Inquirer : “Six years later, in 1971, Auth was hired as staff editorial cartoonist by The Philadelphia Inquirer, where he still is employed.”

  2. Tony Just left the Michener exhibit. We miss you more than we thought. The mornings are not the same. Best of luck Bob

  3. Tony,
    I was an intern a few years back and always remembered seeing your epic glass office on the way up the stairs. My dad has a cartoon you did of a flag in his office, so I have been familiar with your work for a while now. Shame we never got to meet. Good luck with your new gig!


  4. Tony,
    What an amazing career you’ve had. As a former kid neighbor, have watched it from afar with admiration. Best of everything in this new phase.
    Cindy Hana Crommett

  5. We drove from West Reading, PA to the Philly Library to see your work, listen to your thoughts last evening. Worth the trip! Thanks for sharing! The civilized world needs you and more like yourself!

  6. We remember your cartoons in the Daily Bruin. I graduated from UCLA in 1962 and my wife graduated in 1965. We first moved to New Jersey in 1969, and have followed your career in the Inquirer off and on (we lived in Peru for eight years) ever since. Good luck in your new venture with WHYY.
    Barry & Mary

  7. We are in the middle of the Memorial Day weekend – and I flashed on the checkered flag – posted on the diccondra “lawn” on Comolette street – the block party BBQ to follow and then the movie. Guess this year it isn’t going to be Prudance and the Pill hahahahahahahahaha Good luck in your “new” venture.

  8. Are you still creating cartoons? I get the daily updates on my mac’s widget and haven’t seen a new one from you in ages (latest is the Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case). Missing you!

  9. One of the best talents in the industry will be missed. Your cartoons have left a noticeable impact on everyone. Thank you for putting spirit into your work!

  10. You will be missed by all your friends. My dad, Leonard passed in October 2012. He will look forward to seeing you and sharing some laughs.

  11. Tony, I remember your first public work displayed at Mom’s, near UCLA in the 60’s. You drew for beers and were prolific. Even the Bruin Bear was not immune
    from your pen and wild wit. We all loved it and so did you. Yet, at the core, you remained a gentleman and a scholar.Some things never change. Adios, amigo.

  12. §Am ISO copy of 1985 AUTH cartoon @ time of MOVE/Osage Avenue trouble;
    & which depicts then Philadelphia Mayor GOODE as a combat bombardier.
    Believe Tony’s cartoon appeared in INQUIRER Spring or Summer that year
    Accordingly,if You All can help me locate same,please advise. -30- Thanks & Best.s/Noel E. PAEMENTEL Jr [ NoelJr@OptOnline.Net

    • There are a couple of cartoons that you might be referring to:
      5/19/1985 “THIS”LL TEACH “MOVE” TO ACT WITH COMPLETE IRRESPONSIBILITY!!”, says a Philadelphia Policeman as he drops a bomb on the MOVE headquarters. (the resulting fire destroyed 55 homes);
      2/24/1989 GOODE EQUALS COMPETENCE The mayor flies over the city in a biplane, towing the above sign. (Upside down).

      If you want to license the cartoon for some project, please let us know at archive@tonyauth.com

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