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Bud Blake; based 'Tiger' comic strip on his boyhood memories

PORTLAND, Maine -- Julian ''Bud" Blake, the creator of the award-winning comic strip ''Tiger" that appeared in hundreds of papers worldwide, died Monday at Maine Medical Center. He was 87.

Mr. Blake created ''Tiger" in 1965, nine years after quitting his job at a New York advertising agency to pursue his love of drawing.

The strip, with its cast of Tiger and his boyhood pals, was named the year's best humor strip in 1970, 1978, and 2000 by the National Cartoonists Society. It still appears in more than 100 newspapers in 11 countries, according to King Features Syndicate, which distributes the comic.

Mr. Blake, who had spent many summers in Maine, moved permanently to his home and studio in Bremen after the death of his wife in 1988. He continued drawing ''Tiger" until he was 85, according to an obituary submitted by Strong Funeral home in Damariscotta.

Mr. Blake said the characters in the strip were composites of youngsters from his childhood.

The characters included Tiger, his little brother, Punkinhead, his best friend, Hugo, and his dog, Stripe. Other characters included Bonnie, Suzy, and Julian.

Mr. Blake once said Hugo was based on a boy who used to beat him up as a youngster growing up in Nutley, N.J. Stripe was based on Mr. Blake's boyhood dog, Jenny.

Throughout his career, Mr. Blake maintained a reputation as one of the country's most talented cartoonists, said Jay Kennedy, editor in chief at King Features Syndicate. ''He was highly respected by his peers for the quality and charm of his artwork and his inspiring view of a child's world," Kennedy said in a statement.

Before becoming a cartoonist, Mr. Blake was executive art director for an ad agency whose corporate clients included General Motors and Goodyear. But he tired of commuting to the city, administrative details, and business travel, and he quit in 1956 to create a cartoon panel, ''Ever Happen To You?"

Mr. Blake leaves a son, Julian of Gloucester, Mass., and a daughter, Mariana Heath of Portland, Ore.

A memorial service was held.

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