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‘Blondie’ illustrator and cartoonist Stan Drake dead at 75

March 11, 1997

NORWALK, Conn. (AP) _ Cartoonist Stan Drake, illustrator of ``Blondie″ and creator of the classic romance strip ``The Heart of Juliet Jones,″ has died. He was 75.

Drake died Monday at Norwalk Hospital after a long illness.

``The Heart of Juliet Jones,″ a collaboration between Drake and writer Elliott Caplin, made its debut in 1953. King Features syndicated it as competition for ``Mary Worth,″ the day’s leading soap opera strip. At the peak of its popularity, ``The Heart of Juliet Jones″ appeared in 600 newspapers.

The strip earned Drake the top story strip cartoonist of the year award from the National Cartoonists Society in 1969, 1970 and 1972.

``Stan Drake was one of the masters,″ King Features comics editor Jay Kennedy said. ``His craftsmanship was astounding. His control of the pen was so great that you could enlarge one of his 2-inch drawings to a poster the size of a door and every nuance would be there as if he drew the poster that size to begin with.″

In 1989, Drake turned the romance strip over to Frank Bolle to devote his time to illustrating ``Blondie,″ created in 1930 by Chic Young and seen in thousands of newspapers worldwide in 55 languages.

Drake studied at the Arts Student League in New York, where he worked for an advertising agency and opened his own studio in 1949.

Drake also created ``Pop Idols,″ a Sunday page about rock stars. Between 1980 and 1986 he produced ``Kelly Green,″ a series of five books created with ``Annie″ cartoonist Leonard Starr. Drake also free-lanced for Marvel Comics.

An avid golfer, Drake contributed instruction illustrations to Golf Digest magazine and illustrated the book ``The Touch System for Better Golf.″

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