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Town to erect statue of "Family Circus" creator

Town to erect statue of "Family Circus" creator

October 31st, 2012 in News

PHOENIX (AP) - Officials in the town where the late "Family Circus" cartoonist Bil Keane lived have proposed a memorial featuring a bronze sculpture of his beloved characters.

The plan won backing last week from the Paradise Valley Town Council, The Arizona Republic reported (

The plan calls for bringing a 9- by 7-foot bronze statue, dubbed "Giddy-up Daddy," to the Paradise Valley municipal complex.

The cost of $80,000 to $100,000 will be raised through fundraisers and grants because the town doesn't have a funding mechanism for public art, said former Vice Mayor Mary Hamway, who is leading the project.

Keane lived in Paradise Valley from 1959 until he died nearly a year ago at age 89. He wrote thousands of "Family Circus" strips in his home studio.

The strip was modeled after Keane's own family and ran in more than 1,500 newspapers.

The statue was designed by Keane's sons, Glen, who worked as a top animator at Disney for many years, and Jeff, who has continued to produce the "Family Circus" comic strip for newspapers across the nation.

Jeff Keane said the design has been finalized but will not be publicly released for a few months. Town officials plan to unveil a scale model of the proposed statue at a fundraiser at the beginning of the year.

Hamway is tentatively aiming for November 2013 for the official unveiling of the sculpture.

Over the years, Bil Keane gave his time and creativity to the town, contributing his art for town events, including Paradise Valley's 40th and 50th anniversaries, as well as its mainstay annual vintage-car show, she said.

"Bil actively promoted and participated in community events that have clearly added to the enrichment of the quality and quantity of cultural life within the town," Hamway said.