By: Jennifer Loven, Associated Press Writer
(AP) Herbert L. Block, the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist who under the name “Herblock” skewered every president since Herbert Hoover, died Sunday. He was 91.
Block died of pneumonia at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington.
“Herblock was the greatest cartoonist of all time,” said Donald E. Graham, chairman and chief executive of the Washington Post Co., where Block worked.
“His intelligence and his sense of history, combined with his artistic skill helped define many of the key political figures and many of the key events of the last 55 years in Washington,” said Graham.
Block’s cartoons won three Pulitzer Prizes, and he shared in a fourth for the Post‘s Watergate coverage. Block’s work was syndicated in more than 300 newspapers.
His work was known for its liberal slant and biting humor. Although vicious in black-and-white, he was a gentle soul in person. A friend, cartoonist Chuck Jones, once described him as “a tiger posing as a possum.”
His illustrations spanned from the rise of the nuclear peril to the end of the Cold War. It was Block who coined the word “McCarthyism” to describe the redbaiting tactics used by Sen. Joseph McCarthy, and those cartoons were ranked No. 39 on a 1999 New York University list of 100 greatest works of journalism of the century.
He lambasted Richard Nixon for using similar tactics in campaigns for Congress and the vice presidency. In Block’s cartoons, Nixon was stoop-shouldered and unshaven, with dark eyes and an evil grin.