Tom Tomorrow highlights this Trib column on Bill Mauldin, the greatest editorial cartoonist in the history of the form. Mauldin’s old, disabled, and seriously alone in a nursing home in Orange County, California. The Trib story offers points of contact for well-wishers. WWII vets particularly are encouraged to drop a line.

Plus, this is probably the only time you’ll read a plug for the OC Register on Tomorrow’s website ;).

Seriously, think about sending the guy a card – we did it for Sparky, and his brilliant gentleness was what moved us to gratitude. Mauldin helped people deal with a big, ugly world of hell and blood fifty years ago – it’s worth a thank you card.

Here’s how. Send a card or letter to:

Bil Mauldin
c/o Gordon Dillow
Orange County Register
625 N. Grand Ave.
Santa Ana, CA 92701

UPDATE
Bill Mauldin died on January 22, 2003 of complications from Alzheimer’s. This site, and specifically this entry, has become a clearinghouse for both messages to the cartoonist prior to his death and condolences thereafter.

Several correspondents asked me to put them in touch with the Mauldin family in order to arrange for flowers or memorial contributions.

His grandson, Bruce Mauldin, has asked me to post the following information. I’ll add it here and in the comments on the original entry as well as emailing the people who commented originally.

Here’s Bruce’s information concerning services, donations, and so forth.

Mike:

Thank you for allowing my grandfather’s “friends” to accidentally post their thoughts on your web page. It really does mean a lot to see them.

I have actually received several emails since posting to your site. Interestingly enough, my father Bruce [Sr.] (Bill’s son) was a Colonel in the Army, and his Executive Officer from his assignment in Savannah, GA from 1976-1979 contacted me (I was just 13, but do remember him well). It really is a small world!

To answer your question, flower arrangements can be sent directly to Arlington Cemetery. The information is as follows:

Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington, Virginia
Wednesday, January 29th
Bill Mauldin Funeral at 2 PM

If anyone wants to contribute monetarily, it would have meant a lot to Bill (and Charles Schulz, god bless them both) if donations could be made to the Bill Mauldin Wing at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA. The address is as follows, as well as their website:

National D-Day Memorial Foundation
202 East Main Street
Bedford, VA 24523
http://www.dday.org/

Please make sure that the donations are earmarked specifically for the Bill Mauldin Wing, and not the general construction fund.

Again, Mike, thank you for keeping your site up, and making it available. I’m sure your bandwidth is being stretched to it’s limits!

Take care, and best regards!

Bruce P. Mauldin, II

40 thoughts on “Drop Bill Mauldin a line

  1. As an army brat of a WWII vet I grew up with Willie and Joe. As an aspiring cartoonist in college, I followed your career with the Post Dispatch. Your political cartoons, along with those of Conrad and Herblock, comforted the afflicted and afflicted the comfortable. Godspeed, a nation loves you.

    Will Gorenfeld

  2. I’d like to know how Mr. Mauldin is doing and if you are still able to forward cards to him. I just finished reading “The Brass Ring” and would love to send him a hello and get well wish.

  3. Dear Mr. Mauldin,
    I am the son of a career officer who served with the 2nd Armored Division in WWII. Recently I was going through his personal items that my mother has been storing since his death in 1972. She is now in her eighties and wants her children to know the story on these things that have been kept so private all these years. One of the items is an original Willie and Joe drawing my father acquired from you many years ago. It means alot to me to have this drawing. I certainly appreciate your ability to depict the average G.I. in not so average situations. On behalf of my father and entire family, thank you so much for all you have done. Sincerely, Robert L. Cleveland

  4. I was a kid in WWII but I remember Mauldin’s ‘toons…Willie and Joe were real to me then and later when I was stationed in Okinawa, I plagirized Bill Mauldin as much as I could in the base flyer that I published. I followed his political cartoons afterward and was especially touched by his rendition of Lincoln following the Kennedy assasination. Two Pulitizers were not enough for Mauldin. He deserves much, much more.

  5. While reading The Brass Ring…for the second time, an unused biege (or maybe yellowed?) penny postcard dropped out of the book. The picture side has a line drawing of a cowboy sitting in an outhouse and hanging on to the reins of a frightened horse. In large hand printed letters a short poem: “Sunshine and breezes Nicely mix- Comes the wind What a hell of a fix!” The artist? Jack Stirling.
    I haven’t the foggiest idea of where this card came from or how it got into the book. Mean anything to anyone?

  6. HIYA BILL-WHILE WE WERE IN NORMANDY,THE CARTOON OF A CONDOM OVER THE RIFLE DURING RAIN WAS ONE OF THE FUNNIEST THO IT COULD HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED OFF COLORED AT THAT TIME!!I THANK YOU FOR EASING THE FEARS OF A SCARED GI IN THE HEDGE ROLLS OF NORMANDY.I HAVE 5 ORINGINAL COPIES OF THE STARS&STRIPES JULY-AUGUST 1944. GOD BLESS YOU!!JOHN DUDEK GREENSBURG,PA.

  7. I am a Korean War Veteran and an avid reader. My wife has been hitting the used book stores for books on war that I might enjoy. She has great taste and has bought me four of your books. I have greatly enjoyed reading them and now I am eagerly looking for more, especially the one on Korea.

    Since I am computer illiterate, my wife was inquiring through the internet where you were and what you were doing. It seems you are not doing well and in a nursing home. I hope you get to feeling better. I, too, have many ailments. However, I do have someone to take care of me.

    I was familiar with your cartoons from way back but reading what you have written has been a real treat. I hope to collect all your books and treasure them always.

    Both my wife and I consider you a national treasure. We are praying for your speedy recovery. Thank you for brightening our lives with your humor. Carinosamente, Ruben and Irma Moreno.

  8. Happy Holidays to you Bill Mauldin…I hope you are doing find. I have read your Brass Ring Book, and am very interested in your Mauldin Genealogy lines…My Mauldin b. 1826 S.C. came to Ms. and shows up in Jones Co. Ms. 1850…..I had tried to connect your lines, thinking Wm. H. Mauldin b. 1857 in Texas, and his father b. Tenn. mother b. Tenn…..Probably not on the right track here….We love to hear from you, us Mauldin on the internet working hard to connect families…

    Special Day to you Mr. Mauldin.

  9. Bill, you are the greatest. I purchased UP FRONT at an estate sale in 1989 and would not take lots of money for it. You made many of us laugh until we cried. Good luck. I would like to know the other books written by Bill Mauldin… god speed.

  10. bill …as a kid during wwii carried a worn out copy of “up front” in my back pocket…..have read about everything you wrote….just acquired “brass ring” from garage sale…your writings…your cartoons…your personal life have been an inspiration to me from the beginning…..thanks for the ride bill….get well soon….may the good lord lay his hand upon you and give you peace…..you have touched the lives of many people….many of us are grateful for rhat

  11. Mr Mauldin:
    A book based on a play I wrote was published last year. Your name is on the dedication page: “For Bill Mauldin,” it says. A copy is on shelf at the Library of Congress, and it’s been constantly checked out by employees since being accepted by the Library. It’s called “Voices”: call number PS3623 H5798 V64 2002 (Dewey Decimal number 812/.6 21). I dedicated the book to you for three reasons. First, like a lot of people who learned to walk and talk during the War, I found, after the War, your books of cartoons occupying a place near the Bible in my house — I wasn’t allowed to touch the big expensive family Bible, but was encouraged to look at your cartoons, and so you have been with me since childhood in a friendlier way than Paul. Second, the play is about how civilization has a dark side as well as a bright side, and I couldn’t think of anyone who showed both better than you. Third, I really appreciate your descriptions of “the Medicine Man” from McAlester, Oklahoma, in your book “The Brass Ring.” That’s all. Best wishes from Albert.

  12. I’ve always been fascinated with World War II, and your cartoons about Willie and Joe are timeless. I’m praying for you to get better.

    Larry Cannon

  13. Dear Bill,
    Recently, my wife and I watched The Red Badge of Courage, and I almost felt that I knew you — I’m so glad you will live forever in that fine production.
    My father, Jim Humble, was teaching school when he was drafted in 1942. An Okinawa vet, he shared his dog-eared copy of UP FRONT with his sons back in the early ‘fifties; I’ll bet I’ve read it, or a replacement copy, twenty times since then, as well as BILL MAULDIN’S ARMY. Dad didn’t want to talk too muc about his combat experiences, but when your cartoons came up, he’d tell us ‘that’s the way it was!’ Since then I’ve acquired BACK HOME & THE BRASS RING (did you write more?) and shared them with my 86 year-old mom recently. She was timid to begin, because of the mixed memories, but later began to go through all of his letters and v-mails!
    I also remember in high school reading a piece of fiction about a GI who put a Ford v-8 into a Jeep, allegedly written by you; who else? I wish I could find a copy of it now!
    I was drafted in the late ‘sixties, and knew that the Army would never change after only a short while at Ft. Lewis — I began to look for situations like you depicted, and sure enough, there they were!
    Bill, thanks so very much for the great insights and wonderful artwork. As we watched RED BADGE, we marvelled that such a youngster as you were could have had such a wise and mature outlook. I only wished, in this era of BS propaganda military movies, that WILLIE & JOE had been filmed!
    Very Sincerely
    Ex-SP5 Humble

  14. Elmer Lee Bechdoldt
    20 Benning Dell DR
    Columbus Ga 31903
    Noblebrightwood@aol.com
    706-689-3523
    January 12, 2003
    Bill Mauldin
    %Gordon Dillow
    Orange County register
    625 N grand St
    Santa Anna 92701
    Dear Sir:
    I am the son, grandson, brother, brother in law, nephew and cousin of veterans. My grand father laughed at your stuff from his frozen foxholes of the battle of the bulge and the Rhine campaign. We buried him on July 16th 2001. I laughed at a compilation of your work in the 80’s in Germany where I worked as a DOD civilian. Willy and Bill was a great relieve while I sat and waited for the Bader Mainhoff terrorist to blow us up.
    Warrior of Honor
    Stand the anon at the gates of pain,
    Stand the at the bastion of suffering.
    Do not weep for you do not stand alone.
    The ghosts adorned in blue and grey,
    In Kakis tan and fatigue green,
    Wait at the gate to welcome you past
    The gate of pain and the bastion of suffering.
    To the garden of peace that all warriors dream.
    Greet Christ the gardener who grooms the garden for the warriors of Honor.
    Sincerely,
    Elmer Lee Bechdoldt
    American

  15. I saw the segment tonight on ABC (Sunday) and was prompted to write this note. I was in England and France 1944-46 and his cartoons did more than relieve tension, the laughter was contageous. The Sgt shooting the Jeep was and is my favorite. We pray for you,
    John Howell

  16. Hey Bill –

    Well do I remember your cartoons. I’m your same age and was in France at the tail end of Patton’s advance. Talk about dullsville. The bright spot in the day was your cartoon, later came calvados to blur the evening.

    God bless you and thanks for all those cartoons!

    Ben Gardiner
    Ordnance Evac at that time

  17. Thanks, Bill, oh, I would give a lot just to shake hands with you. My share of WWII was on a Carrier across the Equator, and on the otherside of the Dateline from you, but as a lonely,lonely sailor, your cartoons lifted my spirits, gave me hope, and made me smile and know that we would make it–you and me, and Willie and Joe! Bill Dixon

  18. Bill: God bless you always! And “This Damn Tree (Still) Leaks.” Loved you in Stars and Stripes and the book I carried while in the 10th Mtn Div in Italy.You gave us all the belief that someone knew and someone cared. Arrivederci Ross

  19. Mr. Mauldin is the spirit of the American fighting man, not just the honored veterans of WWII. ‘Willie & Joe’ can be the example for Stan or Rico or Jamael or whoever, the young warriors of today! War is terrible with all its results of pain & suffering but when guys like Ernie Pyle & Bill Mauldin telling & showing it how it is, the personal sacrifice is never forgotten! Today day-to-day hustle & bustle living has turned the memory of the sacrifice many spent on the battlefields of yesteryear to just parades & picnics! Sweat, mud & blood is what Mr. Mauldin endured to bring his craft out to show the war for what it was thru the eyes of a dogface! Thank you Mr. Mauldin…Get better…the world needs men like you, especially now! You are a hero, not an ‘ol cartoonist! Thank you!

  20. As a 100% Disabled Vet of WWII I can never forget the truth and reality of your cartoons .
    They helped this old Army man get through it all. Get well soon.
    Art Fink

  21. Saw your picture on 60 minutes Sunday and my father raved about you. He was wounded at Buchenwald in 1944 with the 45th Division 9 a million dollar wound as they called it ) and he smiled and was telling me all about you and how great you made all the guys feel! This is to the son who is taking care of him. You are doing a great job letting him know how special he is to ” the greatest generation ” as Tom Brokaw put it!
    You are all heroes in my book!!!!
    God Bless you
    Mike and Americo DiMarcantonio

  22. Dear Mr. Mauldin:
    I knew nothing of Willie and Joe when I first saw your work. I saw your work in a poignant cartoon: It shows a seated Abraham Lincoln in his Washington D.C. memorial, his face in his hands, weeping. The date it appeared, of course, was November 22. It expressed it all. That drawing alone makes you a cartooning immortal. I am glad you kept drawing after World War II.

  23. We have just held a symposium at the university of Milan,Italy on “Representations of Leadership”. The opening paper,which I wrote, was entitled”Willie and Joe and Ernie Pyle and Leadership”; foot soldiers could see themselves in Willie and Joe and so hang on to the sense of themselves as sane, critical, individuals – leaders of themselves. I have used “Up Front” to teach for at least 20 years and found it expresses the best view of an American identity . There will be a second session of the symposium in France in June and the texts of the papers – including the Willie and Joe paper – will appear on the website:spolitiche.unimi.it/milan group in about March.

  24. My Buddy Bill,
    The first time I heard of you was on the Moselle River, France Sept. 1944. These were back issues, frontline troops never got the latest. There were cartoons of Willie and Joe which we loved because it showed how the combat GI lived. You were the omly cartoonist who knew how the GI suffered. Besides you there was Ernie Pyle. How lucky we were to have such understanding men with us. I want to thank you for the fine work you did for the GI.807 TD BN. will never forget you. Thanks.
    John Koumon
    Co. B 807 Tank Desroyer Bn,

  25. Dear Bill,
    I saw your cartoons as I gew up little knowing I would one day be in your outfit, the 179th Infantry, 45th Division, one war later. We had no victory, worse, we had no Bill Mauldin to tell our story. From one dogface to another, hang in there. I want to meet you in the “Land Beyond the Sun,” but not too soon

    Hank Nicol

  26. Bill Mauldin died today 12/22/03 in his Orange County, California care facility surrounded by the cards and letters everyone sent him. What a tribute to a brilliant artist!

    Who will step in to his shoes for the next round coming up?

  27. Today, America lost a great man.

    For those of you who posted your comments, stories, and memories, I now have a true understanding of how much this man meant to a generation of soldiers, and families. To me in my younger years, he was just “grandpa”, and he “drew really neat cartoons”. However, as I grew older, and had my own children, I began to see him in a different light. Unfortunately, my children never got to meet “Great-Grandpa Bill” in person, and they never got to experience that million-dollar smile that would light up a room.

    Luckily, I have all of these wonderful and kind gestures and thoughts to share with my children.

    He will be missed.

    Bruce Mauldin
    Grandson of Bill Mauldin
    Baldwinsville, NY

  28. I had a drawing from Uncle Bill of a black guy with a pipe, spiffy clothes, back in forties, i don’t even remember meeting him. Later i read about some things; the tri-pacer plane, and his learning how to fly a helicopter (a really cute drawing of the chopper face-to face with a cow).
    I will most remember the story of when his jeep broke and he got a german motorcycle from the motor pool, loved to go thru the puddles in the road; splashed thru one…and it was a bomb crater…he left the ruined bike and hitchiked…what a cool story!
    Uncle Bill whom i don’t remember meeting, thank you for your wonderful insights; the ability to find humor in total chaos. You will be missed by all whom you have touched.

  29. I spent my war as a rear-echelon high-speed radio operator. I kept volunteering for combat in spite, or perhaps because of, your cartoons. It was no desire for the glory of war. It was guilt at sleeping in a warm tent while the fighters were suffering.

    I am now 81. The same age as Bill when he died alone in a nursing home. Luck, or my higher-power finds me still comfortable in the arms of a large family, and in good health. I never succeeded at anything important and am still fighting the good fight via the internet. I still feel guilty however about having had such a good war.

    John H. St.John

  30. I live in Watertown, N.Y. where Bill lived in 1942. I went past where his apartment was this afternoon on Division St.I was sports editor of the Watertown Daily Times from 1972-99 where Bill got some of his early cartoons published. The Johnson family always had kind words about Bill and Mr. John B. Johnson who died in 2001, kept in contact with Bill I believe over the years. Growing up in Binghamton, N.Y. in the 1940s and 50’s I recall a book my father had on Bill’s World War 2 cartoons. He was stationed at nearby Pine Camp which is now Fort Drum. I enjoyed Bill’s work and may I offer my condolences on his passing.

  31. I lost my copy of Up Front that I grew up with. Being a kid of a WW2 Seabee, I treasured that book, but luck was with me when I found it in a thrift store, first edition and all.
    Willy and Joe, I love you.
    I’ll always treasure you, Bill, you were the best.
    Love and godspeed,
    Jeff McMeans

  32. UPDATE (repeating information in the body entry)

    Bill Mauldin died on January 22, 2003 of complications from Alzheimer’s. This site, and specifically this entry, has become a clearinghouse for both messages to the cartoonist prior to his death and condolences thereafter.

    Several correspondents asked me to put them in touch with the Mauldin family in order to arrnge for flowers or memorial contributions.

    His grandson, Bruce Mauldin, has asked me to post the following information. I’ll add it here and in the comments on the original entry as well as emailing the people who commented originally.

    Here’s Bruce’s information concerning services, donations, and so forth.

    Mike:

    Thank you for allowing my grandfather’s “friends” to accidentally post their thoughts on your web page. It really does mean a lot to see them.

    I have actually received several emails since posting to your site. Interestingly enough, my father Bruce [Sr.] (Bill’s son) was a Colonel in the Army, and his Executive Officer from his assignment in Savannah, GA from 1976-1979 contacted me (I was just 13, but do remember him well). It really is a small world!

    To answer your question, flower arrangements can be sent directly to Arlington Cemetery. The information is as follows:

    Arlington National Cemetery
    Arlington, Virginia
    Wednesday, January 29th
    Bill Mauldin Funeral at 2 PM

    If anyone wants to contribute monetarily, it would have meant a lot to Bill (and Charles Schulz, god bless them both) if donations could be made to the Bill Mauldin Wing at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA. The address is as follows, as well as their website:

    National D-Day Memorial Foundation
    202 East Main Street
    Bedford, VA 24523
    http://www.dday.org/

    Please make sure that the donations are earmarked specifically for the Bill Mauldin Wing, and not the general construction fund.

    Again, Mike, thank you for keeping your site up, and making it available. I’m sure your bandwidth is being stretched to it’s limits!

    Take care, and best regards!

    Bruce P. Mauldin, II

  33. I am the 34 year old son of a WWII veteran who is also 81. I sit here tonight at my computer reading this and weeping. I only knew the man from his books and his movies (red badge of courage and the seemingly lost ‘Up Front’ made in the 50’s) but I as well as all others know that America and indeed the world lost a great man. God Bless. You will be missed greatly.

  34. My father was a paratrooper during WWII. He never talked about what he experienced from 1943 through 1945. He did, however, keep copies of Bill Mauldin’s books on our bookshelves. After reading these books, I understood that the heroes of WWII served their country without expecting special treatment or consideration. Bill Mauldin’s daily presence on the editorial pages after the war was a reminder to all WWII vets that someone who shared their values and experiences was still speaking for them.

    The measure of person’s life is whether he or she touched other’s lives in a positive way. Bill Mauldin did this. May he rest in peace.

  35. I just read that Mr. Mauldin died this past week. Sorry to hear about that. I just turned 50, ex-military, and have an old copy of “Up Front” that my dad gave to me. My dad was 17 when he served during WWII, and still alive and kicking. I will tell him of Mr. Mauldin’s death. M.Bingham, Peoria, Illinois

  36. I want to personally thank all who have posted their tributes to Grandpa here and on other websites. You have no idea how your words, cards and letters have affected Bill’s children and grandchildren. You have given Grandpa’s family the other side of his story, so easily forgotten as the years since World War II have passed: the lasting impact he had on his peers and on their children.

    Knowing how MUCH he was loved, and that his place in this country’s history is marked by that love, has brought forth deep emotions in us and allowed us to grieve his death freely and passionately. You were with us in spirit at his funeral, as we paid our respects and yours to this great man.

    As my own father, Lt. Col. (Ret) Bruce Mauldin snapped to attention and saluted his father’s casket, the Pentagon in the distance, I saw every soldier my grandfather ever ministered to through his work. As the guns shot their salutes into the cold damp air, I felt the bond of brotherhood that all WWII vets hold with Bill, even in death. As a lone bugle cried “Taps” through the freezing rain that fell on all of us at Arlington Cemetery, my heart broke and I mourned with everyone in the world the passing of a very special soldier from that “Greatest Generation.” Thousands of hearts and spirits joined together as Bill’s body was laid to rest among the graves of those whose courage and patriotism have laid the foundation that our country stands upon.

    For those of you who are Christians, you will be overjoyed to know that my grandfather gave his heart to Jesus Christ right after his accident, and we can rest assured knowing that he is in ALL his glory now, worshipping our great God with joy, not missing for one moment this life we live here.

    Thank-you again for your expressions of love and gratitude. Your precious words have fallen on thirsty hearts.

    Grace & peace,
    Michelle Mauldin

  37. Was extremely distressed to hear of Bill’s passing. He will forever be connected to my fathers generation of citizen soldiers. He was one with them, Willie and Joe were a little bit of every soldier.

    Being from the next generation of soldiers and having servered in RVN, Bill’s sketches and article on the attack on Camp Holloway effected many of us in the same way. Bill was one of us also. May he rest in eternal peace.
    Vern Gano
    52D CAB and CP Holloway Assoc.

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