Cartoonist Emil Samuel Zekley (aka Zeke Zekley), 90, died April 28, 2005 at his Beverly Hills home, with his family at his side, after a long illness.
He drew BRINGING UP FATHER/MAGGIE AND JIGGS, PEACHY KEEN, DUD DUDLEY, MCDONALDLAND MAGAZINES, THE SQUIRRELS CLUB MAGAZINE for Glendale Federal Savings and AT EASE magazine for the U.S. Army.
Zekley, born February 11, 1915, in Chicago, was raised in Detroit, where he started as a cartoonist under the name Zeke Zekley, before moving to Los Angeles. He went to work for Walt Disney, only to be laid off two weeks later when the studio shut down for the summer. Cartoonist George McManus's brother, Charlie, saw him drawing cartoons in McManus's style on the tablecloth of a restaurant on Sunset Boulevard. He introduced him to his brother, and George McManus hired Zekley as an assistant in 1935 to do the inking and lettering on the BRINGING UP FATHER strip. In time, Zekley became more of a collaborator than assistant, doing nearly an equal share of the artwork and came up with many of the gags himself.
After McManus died and Zekley was not chosen to continue on the comic, Zekley went on to create his own strip for the McNaught Syndicate, DUD DUDLEY, a takeoff on the Blondie comic. He also tried a few others, tried a few others, PEACHY KEEN and POPSIE, which did not take.
He then devoted most of his energy to his own company, Sponsored Comics, which produced comic books for commercial and advertising purposes, according to animation writer Mark Evanier. He also handled PS MAGAZINE, the Army's semi-educational book that Will Eisner had done for years.
Zekley is survived by his wife of 65 plus years, Anita; his daughter, Casey Sater, and her husband James; grandchildren Chase Rosenfield, Zachary Rosenfield and Sydney Zekley-Sloane; great granddaughter, Liza; step grandchildren Gregory Sater, Marc Sater and Anthony Sater and wife Renee; and step great-grandchildren Matthew, Jessica and Lily; former son-in-law Stan Rosenfield; sisters-in-law Gertrude Zekley and Ella Feldstein; niece Marlene Feldstein and newphews Jerry Feldstein, Danny Feldstein and Mickie Zekley.
Services will be at Hillside Memorial Park at 3 pm, Monday, May 2. The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to Cedars Sinai Cardiac Care Unit, Eleanor Arthur Ellis Eye Institute or Maple Counseling Center in Beverly Hills.