Ranan Lurie, an Israeli war hero and world peacemaker who set records as the world’s most syndicated political cartoonist, died Wednesday in Las Vegas. He was 90.
His death, in a residential care facility, was confirmed by his son Rod Lurie.
At its peak, the evocative caricatures of Mr. Lurie in about 1,000 publications with more than 100 million readers in 100 countries, setting a benchmark in the Guinness Book of Records in the 1980s (since surpassed by Johnny Hart, creator of The Wizard of Id and B.C.).
He forged drawing and writing into an instrument mightier than the sword, which gave voice to his strong political views and whose images, he said, had an even greater impact than photography.
“Even if it is the most advanced camera in the world,” he told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz in 2017, “it will never be able to capture the person more accurately than the artist or cartoonist who knows how to express his true character. point out. .”
Other media outlets can put forward several points of view at once, he told The Times in 1989, but the political cartoon can only make one, so “when I win,” he said, “I’d better win by knockout.”
His first of about 12,000 cartoons was published in the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper in 1948, when he was 16 and in a hospital recovering from an arm injury inflicted by a grenade during his time with the Irgun, the underground militia demanding that Great Britain be killed. Britain pays back its decades. ancient promise to ratify a Jewish state.
“Coincidentally, I had a pencil and some paper at the hospital, so I drew,” he said. “If I’d had a violin there, I might have been a great violinist today.”
In 1968, after working as a caricaturist for The Air Force Journal, an Israeli military publication, and as an illustrator and political cartoonist for Israeli newspapers, he was recruited by Life magazine, originally to provide a first-person account of his role as a major in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
His work at Life led to later stints as a political cartoonist with Le Figaro, Paris Match, The Times of London, Die Welt in Germany, Asahi Shimbun in Japan, Newsweek, US News and World Report, Time International, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Business and DailyExpertNews.
mr. Lurie was a founding member and editor-in-chief of Cartoonews, a current events and education magazine; a member of Cartoonists for Peace, an international coalition; and a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, an impartial public policy group based in Washington.
Mr Lurie, who had fought in two wars in the Middle East as an Israeli, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 by Glafcos Clerides, then President of the Republic of Cyprus, for, as he said, “creating a great spirit of understanding among the people of many races,” adding that Mr. Lurie had “aided in the effort to defuse political and other hot conflicts worldwide.”
Ranan Raymond Lurie was born on May 26, 1932, in Port Said, Egypt, where his parents had traveled from Tel Aviv so that his mother could give birth at the home of his paternal grandfather, Rabbi Isaiah Lurie, who was the chief agent there. for the Carmel Mizrahi wine company. Two weeks later they returned to Tel Aviv.
His father, Joseph, was an accountant and a sixth-generation member of his family born in Jerusalem. His mother, Shoshana (Shmuelewitz) Lurie, who was born in the seventh generation in Jerusalem, was an office manager for a utility company.
According to “The Lurie Legacy: The House of Davidic Royal Descent” (2004), by Neil Rosenstein, the family traces its ancestry to the prophet Isaiah, medieval French rabbi Rashi, Felix Mendelssohn, and Sigmund Freud. The family had moved to Jerusalem in 1815.
“I was always good at drawing, even at age 4,” Mr. Lurie told DailyExpertNews in 1995. “It gave me an overwhelming tool and the appetite to maintain and develop it.”
A school newspaper printed one of his cartoons when he was 10.
Ranan increased his age by two years and entered the service of the Irgun at the age of 14, while still in school, the Herzliya Gymnasium in the coastal town of Herzliya. He trained as a fighter pilot but was fired when he buzzed so close to a beach in Herzliya that a lifeguard dived from his paddleboard into the water to avoid the plane. He completed his high school education while working as a journalist.
In 1954, posing as an Australian journalist while working for the Israeli Defense Forces magazine, he talked his way into an Egyptian warship moored in Venice and took detailed photos of the ship’s classified Soviet radar technology. As a result, at the age of 22, he became the first recipient of what later became the Sokolow Prize, the journalism prize awarded by the Tel Aviv Municipality.
His first full-time job as a cartoonist was with The Air Force Journal. His artworks from that period were collected in 1955 in the first of his books, ‘Among the Suns’. (Many of his illustrations include a smiling sun icon.)
One of his other books was “The Cartoonist’s Story” (2004), variously described as a novella and a memoir, in which an Israeli teenager is recruited by the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, and uses his pen as a cartoonist to insinuate himself with world leaders and other powerful figures.
For a decade, starting in 1957, in his mid-20s, Mr. Lurie was the political cartoonist for Yedioth Aharonot – the newspaper that had published its first cartoon when he was a teenager. It became Israel’s largest daily print run.
In 1967, as a major in the Israeli reserves, he exhibited his work in a portrait show at Expo 67 in Montreal when he was recalled to serve in the Six Day War with neighboring Arab countries.
As military governor of Anabta, a city in what is now the West Bank, he said, he personally intervened with Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, whom he had befriended, to override the military’s order to stop the Palestinian residents of the city. to deport, to stop. Jordan.
He told Haaretz in 2017 that he had taught his troops “not to put a finger on an old man, a woman or a child”.
“One of them asked me what to do if a 12-year-old boy was holding a gun,” added Mr Lurie. “I told him that even if we catch cannibals, we won’t eat people just because they do.”
After being recruited by Life magazine, he moved to the United States, where he was naturalized in 1974. His cartoons have been syndicated by King Features, Universal Press and DailyExpertNews Syndicate. In 1985 he started his own syndicate, Cartoons International, which was led by his wife, Tamar (Fletcher) Lurie, a real estate manager.
Before living in Las Vegas, he lived in Manhattan and Greenwich, Conn. In addition to his son Rod, a film director and screenwriter, Mr. Lurie’s wife behind; another son, Barak, who is a lawyer and a radio show host; and two daughters, Dr. Daphne Laurie, the directorial psychologist at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, and Danielle Lurie, a film director.
One of the artworks of Mr. Lurie Outside of Cartoons is ‘United Painting’, part of his Fine Art With a Mission project that began in 2005 with a 75-foot-tall, 600-foot-tall installation of multicolored squares and rectangles on display at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. (The project’s stated mission was “to unite the world under the umbrella of goodwill and mutual respect”.) Later, additional sections of “United Painting” were installed on a satellite in orbit; still others were taken to the top of Mount Everest by Sherpas.
Those peaks were a long way from where he started when Life originally invited him to the United States to promote his first-person account of the Arab-Israeli war, published in June 1967 under the title “A Major’s Long Ride to a Short Ride.” war. †
“Back then, in 1968,” he told The Times, “we had no contacts, no old boys network, virtually no friends or money.
“Everything,” he said, “is materialized from my 10 fingers.”