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Date: December 05, 2007 01:05AM
Ginger Meggs cartoonist James Kemsley dies age 59
4th December 2007, 13:00 WST
Tributes are flowing in from around the world for Ginger Meggs cartoonist James
Kemsley, who died yesterday aged 59.
Kemsley, who has been drawing the iconic comic strip since 1984, died at his
home in Bowral NSW Australia, late yesterday after a two-year battle with motor
Ginger Meggs, which was first published in 1921, is the most syndicated
Australian comic strip, appearing in more than 120 newspapers around the
Kemsley was the fourth artist to draw the comic, and was credited with taking it
from a Sunday strip into a daily format.
Under his pen Ginger Meggs enjoyed unprecedented popularity.
Australian Cartoonists’ Association president Peter Broelman said Kemsley
loved cartooning and was working on Ginger Meggs right until the end.
“He was working on Meggs that morning,” Mr Broelman said.
“He couldn’t draw as such but he was certainly writing ideas and ...
involved in the production of Meggs.”
Kemsley, who was a former president of Cartoonists’ Association, was a mentor
to up-and-coming cartoonists, Mr Broelman said.
“He was one of those few guys that you meet who always helped other people,”
“He certainly helped me with advice and he didn’t limit his advice to
anyone, and he was keen to help younger cartoonists I think basically out of a
sense of camaraderie to further the greater good.”
A former actor who hosted Skeeter’s Cartoon Connection and starred in Seven
Little Australians in the 1970s, Kemsley was a cricket tragic, a theatre lover
and a St Kilda football club fan.
Mr Broelman said he had been inundated with messages from friends and colleagues
of Kemsley’s from around the world.
“I’ve been receiving a lot of emails and phone calls, not only from
Australia but from the US and from England, where he made a lot of friends over
the years,” Mr Broelman said.
“He was one of those affable guys, just a friendly bloke who was quite happy
to travel around the world just to meet other cartoonists.”
Kemsley leaves behind his wife Helen and three sons Jed, Hywel and
Award-winning cartoonist Jason Chatfield will take over the production on Ginger