Kevin McVey, Reuben Award winning Theatrical Caricaturist and co-founder of the NCS New Jersey Chapter, passed away on October 19 from complications of pneumonia. He was 83.
McVey was born in The Bronx, N.Y. in February of 1928. He dropped out of high school to join the Marines toward the end of World War II. He later got his degree and attended The Art Career School in New York’s famous Flat-Iron Building.
His first career opportunity began in advertising with the Ted Bates Agency. He left Madison Avenue after a relatively short time, because he was fearful he’d only be remembered as “Mister Brand X”. In 1963 he was hired by The Bergen Record Newspaper in North Jersey. As a staff artist, he did both editorial and sports cartoons. He covered trials as a court room sketch artist. He created a weekly in-house desert island themed cartoon panel entitled “Castaway Corner”. For most of his twenty-six years on the paper, however, he was primarily its theatrical caricaturist. His beat was on and off-Broadway. Hundreds of performers from Bette Midler to Harvey Firestein; from Carol Channing to Katherine Hepburn were deftly exaggerated by his exacting pen. Hepburn once told Kevin she preferred his caricatures of her to all others!
His caricatures became well known and the Los Angeles Times Syndicate began a feature called “Celebrity Cookbook” with McVey drawing show business people from Broadway and Hollywood.
In 1984, Kevin McVey received the National Cartoonist Society’s Special Category Award for Theatrical Caricature. He beat out the award winning New York Daily News Sam Norkin, and the New York Times iconic Al Hirschfeld for the honor!
In the mid-sixties, Kevin McVey with the late N.Y. News and N.Y. Post editorial cartoonist Frank Evers, began gathering New Jersey cartoonists together for the purpose of dining monthly to socialize and talk shop. They called themselves “The Monthly Munchers”. Soon this led to more purposeful civic minded areas, where the group would visit local military bases and veterans hospitals to entertain patients. Some did this on a national and international level, too, in concert with the NCS. In 1999, the Monthly Munchers received a charter and became an official Chapter of the Society.
In 2007, the New Jersey Chapter presented Kevin with The Tim Rosenthal Award for his long, and very valuable service to the group. He had served as its past Chairman, and constantly initiated many projects in which the chapter got involved. On the national level, Kevin has served the NCS as it’s Membership Chairman.
He is survived by his son Chris, his daughter Kitt Cela, a sister and two grandchildren. Kevin’s wife of 52 years, Betty died last year.