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[Deathwatch] Dave Berg, Mad Magazine Cartoonist, 81



Mad Magazine Cartoonist Dave Berg, 81, Dies in L.A. 
Fri May 24, 8:54 PM ET 
By Dan Whitcomb 

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Dave Berg, whose irreverent and affectionate
cartoons for Mad magazine captured "The Lighter Side" of life in
suburban America for more than 40 years, has died, his daughter said on
Friday. He was 81. 
  
Berg, whose expertly drawn strips largely ignored current events and
political issues of the day to poke fun at the foibles of American
life, died on May 17 of cancer at his home in the Los Angeles suburb of
Marina del Rey, Nancy Berg said. 

She said her father, who had been battling cancer and would have turned
82 on June 12, died shortly after midnight with his wife of 52 years,
Vivian, and their two children at his side. 

The Brooklyn, New York-born Berg began freelancing for Mad magazine in
1956 and started his best-known feature, "The Lighter Side of..." five
years later, skewering such staples of everyday American life as a trip
to the car mechanic or battles over the living room television set. 

The strip often skewered Berg's own family, headed by his cranky
alter-ego, Roger Kaputnik. Vivian Berg, who was also a cartoonist, and
his children also figured in the plots. 

Nancy Berg said her father's comic strips so expertly pegged the human
condition that psychologists would keep them on file to show frustrated
patients. 

"They would keep them handy so they could bring them out and say,
'Look, you're not the only one. Even Dave Berg is writing about this,"'
she said. 

Nancy Berg said that her father's sense of humor spilled over into his
personal life, where he was known for great warmth. He was a minor
celebrity in New Rochelle, New York, where he grew up and where the
family lived before moving to California, she said. 

Berg, who was born in 1920, showed a penchant for drawing as a young
boy and attended Cooper Union Art School in New York before getting a
job, along with artist Jules Feiffer, in the studio of comic artist
Will Eisner. 

After World War Two, where he served in the Army Air Corps and as a war
correspondent, Berg worked for "Spider-Man" artist Stan Lee before
joining Mad. 

Nancy Berg said a public memorial service would be planned next month
for her father, whose remains have been cremated.