By: Dave Astor
Toni Mendez, a literary agent known for her connection to newspaper cartooning, died of a heart attack Sunday in New York City. Though 94, she was involved with running her agency until the end of her life.
Among the people Mendez represented were “Terry and the Pirates”/”Steve Canyon” cartoonist Milton Caniff (1907-1988), “Kliban Cat” creator B. Kliban (1935-1990), and, more recently, author/Universal Press Syndicate editorial cartoonist Ted Rall.
Mendez — a former Rockette, solo dancer, and choreographer always seen wearing a stylish hat — also worked for years with organizations such as the National Cartoonists Society and Newspaper Features Council.
Corinta Kotula, executive director of the now-defunct NFC, told E&P Online that Mendez “admired cartoonists and their creativity so much.” She recalled that, when talking with Mendez two days before she died, Mendez discussed the importance of cartoon art being displayed and preserved. “Toni was a wonderful friend, and a very strong woman who had a passion for life,” said Kotula.
The Toni Mendez Inc. agency, based in New York City, will continue operations.