Tony Auth

For other uses, see Auth (disambiguation).
Tony Auth
Born William Anthony Auth, Jr.
May 7, 1942
Akron, Ohio
Died September 14, 2014(2014-09-14) (aged 72)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Area(s) Editorial cartoonist
Awards Pulitzer Prize (1976),
Herblock Prize (2005)

William Anthony "Tony" Auth, Jr. (May 7, 1942 – September 14, 2014), was an American editorial cartoonist and children's book illustrator. Auth is best known for his syndicated work originally drawn for The Philadelphia Inquirer, for whom he worked from 1971 to 2012. Auth's art won the cartoonist the Pulitzer Prize in 1976 and the Herblock Prize in 2005.


Early years

William Anthony "Tony" Auth, Jr. was born May 7, 1942 in Akron, Ohio, the son of William Anthony Auth, Sr. and Julia Kathleen Donnelly.

At age five Auth was bedridden with rheumatic fever for a number of months.[1] During this period of protracted convalescence, Auth was encouraged by his mother to take up drawing as an enjoyable and worthy creative past time.[1] Inspired by comic book art, Auth began to draw regularly, making use of an ample supply of paper, pencils, and crayons provided by his parents.[1]

At age nine, he and his family moved to Los Angeles, California where Auth continued his education.[2]

Auth attended UCLA where he earned his bachelor's degree in biological illustration in 1965.[3] At UCLA he also worked on the Daily Bruin, the school newspaper, as well as for various alternative newspapers in the Los Angeles area.[3]

Auth was married to Eliza Drake Auth, who is a realist landscape and portrait painter. Together they had two children. The couple resided in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania.[2]


After Auth graduated he became a medical illustrator at Rancho Los Amigos Hospital, a large teaching hospital associated with the University of Southern California. During his time as a medical illustrator, Auth began drawing political cartoons. Auth started out doing one political cartoon a week for a weekly alternative newspaper. He eventually worked his way up to drawing three political cartoons a week for the UCLA Daily Bruin.

In 1971, Auth was hired on as staff editorial cartoonist by The Philadelphia Inquirer.[3] He would work for this same company for 41 years.

Auth's work was published by the Inquirer five days a week, reaching an additional national audience via syndication.[1] Although his personal politics leaned to the left, Auth used his work as an equal opportunity foil against political incompetence by politicians from both sides of the Congressional aisle.[1] He was an outspoken critic of financial corruption on Wall Street, racial bigotry and intolerance, and gun violence, driving home his points with wit and a minimalistic artistic style.[1]

Auth made use of a light table in composing his finished work, in which he attempted to mimic the rough-hewn simplicity of rapidly drawn preliminary sketches.[4] His content was acerbic and made use of irony in hammering home his political points.[4]

In 1976 Auth's work was rewarded with a Pulitzer Prize.[3] He would be a finalist for the Pulitzer two more times during his four decade career, finishing on that short list in 1983 and 2010.[1] Auth also won the prestigious Herblock Prize in 2005, an award given by a foundation established by the late political cartoonist Herb Block.[1]

Auth retired from his position at the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2012, taking a buyout from the paper.[3] Following his departure from the paper, Auth went to work for the online news producer, owned by Philadelphia news-talk radio station WHYY-FM, where he became the publication's first digital artist-in-residence.[3]

His other work includes the comic strip Full Disclosure, which he drew from 1982 to 1983, and Norb, which he produced in 1989. In addition to his ongoing daily newspaper work Auth published several collections of his political cartoons and illustrated eleven children’s books.[2]


Tony Auth died of brain cancer on September 14, 2014.[3] He was 72 years old.


Auth received many awards over his career which included:

Auth was also awarded an honorary doctorate in 2012 by the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.[5]



Further reading

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