Illustrator and Character Designer Paul Coker Passed Away
We are saddened to announce the heartbreaking news that on July 23, 2022, Paul Coker passed away at the age of 93. He was an American illustrator and character designer who worked in many media, including Mad, Rankin-Bass TV specials, and advertising.
He was born on March 5, 1929, in Lawrence, Kansas U.S. Coker studied painting and drawing at the University of Kansas, and finally in the 1950s, joined Hallmark as a greeting card designer.
After he got graduated with a degree in drawing and painting, Coker got a gig as a designer of greeting cards for Hallmark. In 1961, he became a member of the “Usual Gang of Idiots” who illustrated for Mad magazine.
Coker worked in an iconic Rankin/Bass Production stop-motions as a character designer or production designer and also he worked in animated holiday specials, including Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town, Rudolph’s Shiny New Year, The Easter Bunny Is Comin’ to Town, Jack Frost, and Pinocchio’s Christmas.
His first drawing with Mad arrived in 1961, and he represented the iconic humor magazine, including film and television parodies of projects and over 375 articles including
- Star Trek
- Jurassic Park
- Sabrina: Teenage Witch
- Caroline In The City
He also directed the creation of characters like Kris Kringle (Mickey Rooney), Burgermeister Meisterburger (Paul Frees), Snow Miser (Dick Shawn), and Heat Miser (George S. Irving) and we must appreciate his efforts in creating these characters.
The fact that shows how creative and smart he was, is that, he turned figures of speech into monsters with his recurring “Horrifying Cliches” features and as the result, he provided artwork for hundreds of other articles.
Coker also freelanced for all-time famous publications such as Esquire, Good Housekeeping, and Playboy, contributing an NSFW parody of the Peanuts comic strip to the latter magazine.
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Paul Coker Passed Away
Paul Coker Passed Away on July 23, 2022, and his death was confirmed by his stepdaughter Lee Smithson a few days after the exact day. “Paul was lucid and had his remarkable sense of humor until the end,” she said.
It must be noted that US day News does not confirm nor reject any of this information about Paul Coker’s passing. Please let us know if you read incorrect details or learn more information.
It was about seven years ago that Coker’s decades-long career was honored by the National Cartoonists Society which awarded him the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.
Lots of his fans are sharing their sadness on social media and mention that Paul Coker Jr. is one of their favorite character designers of all time. He had a huge impact on the childhood of a generation. We truly lost a legend. May he rest in peace.
On social media, messages of condolences were sent to Paul Coker’s family and loved ones. His friends shared their sadness through their Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pages. May he rest in peace.
Andrew Farago shared on his social media: “Hearing from multiple sources that the great Paul Coker Jr. has passed away at the age of 93. An incredible cartoonist, and really underrated, in my opinion. So expressive, such economy of line…and such a joy to see his illustrations in MAD over the years.”
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