ROBERTS, WILLIAM (BILL) E. (17 Oct. 1914-18 Nov. 1978) spent his entire working life in the art department of the CLEVELAND PRESS, culminating in a 16-year reign as the paper's editorial cartoonist. A native Clevelander, he joined the Press upon graduation from WEST HIGH SCHOOL in 1932, pursuing art lessons at night at the JOHN HUNTINGTON POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE, where his instructors included PAUL TRAVIS and WILLARD COMBES.

Much of his early work on the Press was done for the sports page, but he attracted general notice for the creation of the "Week's Wash," a humorous cartoon review of local and national news which appeared at the bottom of the front page every Saturday from 1948-62. Memorable characters invented by Roberts for the series included hockey fan Julius P. Bodychec, chuckhole expert Foxhole Freddy, and members of the Jolly Set from Cleveland's nightlife strip along SHORT VINCENT Ave. Roberts himself executed a 70' mural for Kornman's Restaurant on Short Vincent, as well as other murals for Cavoli's Restaurant and the Artists and Writers Club. He was appointed editorial-page cartoonist for the Press succeeding Combes in 1962. For several summers he sat in for cartoonist Gene Bassett in the Scripps-Howard Washington bureau, from where his work was syndicated nationally. President Lyndon Johnson requested 5 of Roberts' originals during the summer of 1965. Locally, Roberts won numerous "Best Cartoon" awards from the CLEVELAND NEWSPAPER GUILD and the PRESS CLUB OF CLEVELAND.

Married since 1938 to the former Marguerite MacGillis, he was survived by her and their 7 children.

Finding Aid for the Bill Roberts Editorial Cartoon Collection, Cleveland State University.

William Roberts Collection, WRHS.

Feingold, Rachel G. (ed.). Provocative Pens: Four Cleveland Cartoonists, 1900-1975 (1992).

Article Categories