Les Gibbard, illustrator, animator and The Guardian political cartoonist for 25 years, died age 64.
Julian Bray writes: I met and was friends with Les Gibbard when he first came over from New Zealand (where he was a cartoonist/journalist with the Auckland Star), introduced to him by my then partner Sandra Carpenter also from Auckland. Les was affable, easy going and had a keen eye for a cartoon, classically drafted, on any current hard news story. He was well liked and respected by his peers and his passing is a sad loss. My condolences go out to Susan, his wife of many years standing.
Les Gibbard joined the Guardian in 1969, following in the footsteps of Sir David Low and Bill Papas, and at just 23 was the newspaper's youngest ever cartoonist.
Throughout the offices of the prime ministers Harold Wilson, Edward Heath, James Callaghan, Margaret Thatcher and John Major, his incisive daily pictorial commentaries gave readers a unique slant on world history.
During the Falklands war, on the sinking of the Belgrano in May 1982, (reproduced above) his striking reworking of a second world war Philip Zec cartoon, recaptioned to read: "The price of sovereignty has increased – official" caused controversy when Thatcher, then prime minister, cited it as evidence the British media did not support military action.
Gibbard was raised in New Zealand and moved to London during the 1960s, working first at the Daily Telegraph before joining the Guardian.
During a long and successful career his work featured in many of Britain's national newspapers as well as on Channel 4's A Week in Politics, on the BBC's Newsnight, and on the political comment show On the Record.
He contributed to several international animated features, including Under Milk Wood and Ivor the Invisible, as well as TV adaptations of the Beatrix Potter stories and The Wind in the Willows.
He died suddenly and unexpectedly on Sunday after a routine operation. He is survived by Susan, his wife of 32 years.
Obituary courtesy The Guardian
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