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George Woodbridge, 73; Artist at Mad Magazine Had Eye for Detail

January 26, 2004|From Associated Press

George Woodbridge, an illustrator for Mad magazine for nearly 50 years whose exquisitely detailed pen-and-ink drawings were featured in nearly every issue, has died. He was 73.

Woodbridge died of emphysema Tuesday in New York City, said his wife, Deborah Woodbridge.

"He had a tremendous eye for detail that showed up in his drawings," said Mad Editor John Ficarra. "We especially played to his history knowledge. When we gave him a piece on World War I, he would draw the exact gun and belt buckle they were using then."

Woodbridge's delicate crosshatched illustrations were the result of careful research, particularly in rendering historical scenes. He was a stickler for detail, authenticating even the drape of clothing by studying historical documents.

In fact, Woodbridge had a second career as an illustrator of military history books, including the three-volume "American Military Equipage, 1851-1872."

A native of New York City, Woodbridge began as a freelance artist for Mad in 1957, five years after the satirical magazine's inception.

One of Woodbridge's most memorable illustrations was for the 1965 sports satire "43-Man Squamish," about a nonsensical game in which the equipment included shepherd's crooks and diving flippers.

"It's arguably our most requested piece to reprint," Ficarra said. "It struck a chord. Colleges all over formed teams and played this crazy game, with these ridiculous-looking helmets. George captured that lunacy."

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