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Kevin McVey, 1928-2011
posted January 1, 2012


Kevin McVey, an illustrator and theater caricaturist active in the National Cartoonists Society, died on October 19 from complications due to pneumonia. He was 83 years old.

McVey was born in the Bronx. He left high school early to join the armed services near the end of World War II, serving in a non-combat portion of the Pacific theater. After leaving the military a few years after the war, McVey attended art school at one of the many options for such education in post-WWII New York City, taking classes the Flatiron building. He was then employed in advertising.

Citing an enjoyment of his freelance illustration work over his daily agency duties, McVey quit advertising in 1961 and eventually found employment with the Bergen Record, where he would stay for a quarter-century. He provided illustrations, editorial cartoons, a weekly cartoon called Castaway Corner and theater caricatures to the publication. He eventually became syndicated by the LA Times with his feature Celebrity Cookbook. He was best known for the Broadway coverage and caricatures of the stars there, for the size of his publication in the region and the limited range of newspapers actively covering the theater industry.

With the cartoonist Frank Evers, McVey in the mid-'60s co-founded the group of New Jersey cartoonists that would eventually become an official chapter of the National Cartoonist Society. He was active in the group's participation with USO tours, making cartoons for the troops in Vietnam and for those in veterans hospitals.

McVey's theatrical caricatures were honored by the NCS with an award in 1984, taking the honor over nominees Sam Norkin and Al Hirschfeld. He officially retired from The Record in 1989. He would served as a chapter chairman for the New Jersey cartoonists when they became an NCS chapter in 1999, and also briefly served as the national organization's membership chairman. In 2007, McVey received the Tim Rosenthal award for 40 years of service to the chapter.

He is survived by a sister, two children and two grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife of 52 years, Betty, in 2010. Memorial contributions have been direct to the ambulance corp in the town of Ho-Ho-Kus where McVey made his home.