By: Dave Astor
International syndication pioneer John F. Klem died Wednesday. The New Jersey resident was 87.
Klem worked for Editors Press Service from 1946 to 1996. During that time, he was on the road at least four months a year selling comics, columns, and other content from various American syndicates represented abroad by EPS. Klem, who began his career as a copy boy for the New York Daily News in 1937, became president of EPS in 1956.
In a 1996 E&P interview, Klem said he visited about 80 countries during his career — and that the “Calvin and Hobbes” comic was the biggest seller ever for EPS. He also recalled that Walter Lippmann was preeminent on the column side. “Almost every important newspaper, no matter where it was, wanted Lippmann,” said Klem. “He was a real pundit. He determined the news. No one ever replaced him.”
At the time of that retirement interview, a number of other syndicate people praised Klem. For instance, then-United Media executive Sid Goldberg said Klem “introduced and popularized American syndicated features in many countries.” Then-Universal Press Syndicate President John McMeel said Klem “opened up a lot of doors on the international scene.”
Klem is survived by, among others, daughter Lisa Klem Wilson — senior vice president/general manager at United.