Reg Manning, known throughout Arizona as "The Cactus Cartoonist" and across the country for his water color paintings of the Old West, is dead at age 80.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1951 for one of the more than 15,000 cartoons he drew for the Arizona Republic, the state's largest newspaper, Manning's work also was seen by millions more readers when his work was syndicated in 170 newspapers.
He had never really retired, although in recent years contributed only an occasional cartoon to the newspaper he joined as a combination artist-photographer in 1926.
Manning, who died Monday, came by the sobriquet "The Cactus Cartoonist" because of his trademark--his signature at the bottom of his work followed by a stubby, smiling cactus.
Over the years he turned out postcards, jewelry, stationery and his water colors--all dealing with the Western themes.
"What Kinda Cactus Izzat," one of his books, has gone through nearly three dozen printings with sales of 300,000 copies. It was designed to acquaint newcomers with the cacti that dominate the Arizona desert, making it, as he said in the foreword to the book, "one region which should never have to worry about an invasion by parachutists."
"No one person can know each and every contribution Reg Manning made to his beloved Arizona," said Eugene S. Pulliam, president of Phoenix Newspapers Inc., which publishes the Arizona Republic and the Phoenix Gazette. "There were so many facets of his outstanding and distinguished productivity that it touched, informed and cheered untold thousands of people."
Manning is survived by his wife, Ruth, whom he met in a Phoenix high school art class, a son, and two grandchildren.