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Leonard Starr Cartoons

An inventory of his cartoons at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: WL, MS
Date: Apr 1986

Biographical History

Leonard Starr (1925- ) is an American cartoonist and comic book artist. Born in New York City on October 28, 1925, Starr attended the High School of Music and Art and then the Pratt Institute where he officially focused on art education because he was uncertain about the feasibility of making a living as an artist. While still a student, Starr went to work for Funnies, Inc. doing comic book backgrounds and later penciling and inking. Starr left Pratt and spent some time studying under Frank Reilly at the Art Students League.

Starr did free-lance illustrations and also worked as an advertising artist. Starting in the early 1950s, Starr submitted several strip ideas to various syndicates which were all turned down until he submitted the idea for On Stage which was accepted in 1956 and began appearing February 10, 1957 through the Chicago Tribune- New York News Syndicate. It would continue to be distributed until 1979. Critics have praised Starr's ability to accurately portray Broadway in On Stage as well as his detailed, realistic artwork.

Beginning in 1979 he revived the strip Annie, originally Little Orphan Annie, for the Tribune Company Syndicate. During the late 1970s and 1980s Starr contributed to various comic book projects and wrote the Kelly Green graphic novel series. He was also the co-creator and writer for the Rankin-Bass animated television series Thundercats.

On Stage received the society's Best Story Strip of the Year award in 1960 and 1963. Starr won the same award for Annie in 1983. The National Cartoonists Society honored Starr with the Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year in 1965. Starr also once served as the NCS vice-president and continues to be a member of the organization.

Leonard Starr moved to Westport, Connecticut in 1970 where he still resides.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Leonard Starr Cartoons consist of approximately 1,978 daily and 429 Sunday panels for the strip Mary Perkins, On Stage or On Stage. On Stage depicts a beautiful Broadway actress, Mary Perkins. The strip is often described as having characteristics of a soap opera. Starr incorporated romance, humor and suspense into his strips, with stories often continuing for several days and weeks, providing cliffhangers for the reader to anticipate the conclusion of these meticulously written and illustrated plots.

The cartoons date from 1957-1964 and 1967-1969, with occasional gaps in the run. Artistic materials used include traces of graphite, pen, ink, zipatone screening and blue pencil on illustration board.

At the end of the collection is a single folder containing an article from Ebony magazine titled "What's not so funny about the funnies."

Arrangement of the Collection

The Leonard Starr Cartoons are arranged into 2 series: On Stage and Printed material. Within the On Stage series, the daily and Sunday cartoons are arranged separately.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has collections of over one hundred cartoonists. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

Subject Headings


Starr, Leonard.

Corporate Bodies

Chicago Tribune Syndicate.

Associated Titles

Mary Perkins On Stage (comic strip)
On Stage (comic strip)


Actress -- Caricatures and cartoons.
American wit and humor, Pictorial.
Broadway (New York, N.Y.) -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Caricatures and cartoons -- United States.
Cartoonists, United States.
Comic books, strips, etc. -- United States.

Genres and Forms

Cartoons (humorous images)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Leonard Starr Cartoons
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Leonard Starr, 1966 and 1969.

Table of Contents

On Stage

Printed material