C:\Users\Robert\Documents\CANADIAN CARTOONING ILLUSTRATION and ANIMATION\IMAGE OF CARTOONIST OR ILLUSTRATOR\CARTOONIST &, or ILLUSTRATOR M\MACPHERSON DUNCAN, Sunday Star, 25 Apr. 1993, H1.jpg                      Photo by Doug Griffen, Sunday Star, 25 Apr. 1993: H1.

“Canada as clumsy as she is, means well.”                                                                  Duncan Macpherson, Macpherson’s Canada: 1.

“Bengough lacked the artistic skill of Julien, Julien did not possess Bengough’s genius for humorous invention. If the abilities of these two men had been combined in one person, he would have been the Duncan Macpherson of his time.”                                                                                                                                Peter Desbarates/Terry Mosher, The Hecklers, 156.

Edmond Wilson the great U.S. critic said of Macpherson in a New Yorker                        article in 1964 that he created “ a phantasmagoria for which the mediocre subjects themselves seemed hardly adequate.”                                                                          The Hecklers, 146.

Comments by his peers.

“Personally I’ve always felt he is the best in North America.”                                      Andy Donato, Toronto Sun (24 Apr. 1973).

“head and shoulders above anyone else in North American.”                                    Len Norris, Vancouver Sun (146)

C:\Users\Robert\Documents\CARTOONING ILLUSTRATION ANIMATION\IMAGE BY CARTOONIST\M\MacDONALD Blaine, Portfoolio 9, 6.jpg A Tribute by Blaine, Portfoolio 9: 6.

Born 20 Sept. 1924 in Toronto.

Macpherson from a very young age was interested in cartooning but was discouraged by his parents who wanted him to enter the family textile business. In 1941 and seventeen years he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and was shipped overseas to England where he packed bombs. In his spare time he took art courses and studied British political cartooning. Before the war ended he won a prize for an RCAF poster showing a stick of bombs coming out of the bomb bay.

After World War Two he used his veteran’s pension to study graphic arts at the Boston Museum of Fine Art. Dick Hersey art director at the Standard (later the Weekend Magazine) had seen some of Macpherson’s drawings in a collection in Ottawa and persuaded the publisher J.W. McConnell to subsidize part of Macpherson’s art studies.

In 1947 his father died, and Macpherson attempted to run the business, but he soon abandoned this and instead entered the Ontario College of Art from which he graduated in 1951. Even before he graduated, he was given a freelance contract by the Standard to replace Jimmy Frise who died of a heart attack 13 March 1948, as illustrator for journalist Greg Clark’s stories. Pierre Berton Managing Editor of Maclean’s liked the work and hired Macpherson to illustrate journalist Robert Thomas Allen’s stories. Macpherson developed a cartoon character to represent Allan which Allen never liked but which Macpherson later used to great effect in his editorial cartoons as the average Canadian.

When in 1958, Pierre Berton left Maclean’s to join the Star [Toronto], he talked Macpherson into coming with him. At first Macpherson was hesitant. He had studied the great British editorial cartoonists James Gillray and David Low and had become, to put it in his words, “quite convinced I didn’t think that way. They had something to say Anything I had to say was just a personal beef. I had no great social conscience then and I don’t now.” [1973] (4). Macpherson was non-partisian. “I’m simply against wrongness in public life.” (243). Perhaps that is why he became our greatest cartoonist.

He accepted the job as editorial cartoonist at the Star at a starting salary of $11,000 per year which made him probably the highest paid cartoonist working in Canada at the time – an amazing introduction for someone who was till then first and foremost an illustrator. It was a wage well spent. Macpherson’s popularity soared although at the start readers didn’t quite know how to take him. According to Beland Honderich the Star’s publisher, “The first reaction to Macpherson’s cartoons was that they were cruel. People had never seen this type of cartooning in Canada. They weren’t prepared for it.” (148)

Although initially unsure about his qualifications as an editorial cartoonist, Macpherson’s independent personality was never in doubt. After about a year in the job, he asked the Star to reduce his work load from five cartoons a week to three so that he could travel to Cuba to draw sketches for the newspaper. He was refused and so he quit and returned to Maclean’s. His popularity helped Berton to override Honderich’s decision and entice Macpherson back from Maclean’s.

Before Macpherson, most cartoonists were part of the editorial team, often illustrating other’s ideas. Macpherson succeeded in making himself an independent contributor to the editorial page, at times producing cartoons that were in opposition to the editorial stance of the Star. This stance was adopted by many editorial cartoonists that followed.

For his work he was awarded six National Newspaper Awards, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1965, 1970, and 1972. In 1966, he was awarded the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts medal. In 1970 he received the Molson Prize ($15,000) from the Canada Council. In 1976, he was elected to the News Hall of Fame in 1976. In 1987, he was awarded the order of Canada.

He retired from the Star in April 25, 1993 and died May 3, 1993 at the age of 68 years. He had been diagnosed three months earlier with pancreatic cancer.

On 8 October 2021, Canada Post Corp. honoured him with a first day cover and a commemorative stamp.




Content cartoon editorial:

 The Art of Political Cartooning in Canada/1980. Ed., Steve Bradley. For., Robert LaPalme. Virgo Press, Oct. 1980: 22, 26, 33, 36, 164, 210.

Best Canadian Political Cartoons, 1983. Ed., N.M. Stahl. For., David Rosen. McClelland & Stewart Ltd. Sept. 1983: 11, 13, 18, 61, 62, 64, 68, 105, 112, 155, 192.

Best Canadian Political Cartoons, 1984. Ed., N.M. Stahl. For., Robert LaPalme. McClelland & Stewart Ltd. Sept. 1984: 30, 53, 58, 60, 85, 113, 114, 154.

Caricature . Cartoons Canada. Ed., Terry Mosher. Montréal: Linda Leith Publishing, 2012: 11.

Portfoolio, The Year 85 In Canadian Caricature. Ed., Guy Badeaux & Alan King. Writ., Charles Gordon. Montréal: Ludcom Inc. 1985.

Portfoolio, The Year 86 In Canadian Caricature. Ed., Guy Badeaux. Writ., Charles Gordon. Ludcom Inc. 1986.

Portfoolio, The Year 87 In Canadian Caricature. Ed., Guy Badeaux . Ludcom Inc. 1987.

1988 Portfoolio, The Year In Canadian Caricature. Ed., Guy Badeaux . Writ., Charles Gordon. Eden Press. 1988.

Portfoolio: 1989 in Canadian Caricature. Ed., Guy Badeaux . Writ., Charles Gordon. Macmillan of Canada, 1989.

Portfoolio 6: The Year in Canadian Caricature. Ed., Guy Badeaux . Writ., Charles Gordon. Macmillan of Canada, 1990.

Portfoolio 7: The Year in Canadian Caricature. Ed., Guy Badeaux . Writ., Charles Gordon. Macmillan of Canada, 1991.


Content  editorial cartoon & Cover:

A Collection of the Cartoons of Duncan Macpherson. Toronto Star Ltd., no date.[1961]

Cartoons By Duncan Macpherson. Toronto Star Ltd., no date. [1962]

Cartoons by Macpherson, vol. 3. Toronto Star Ltd., no date.  [1963]

Cartoons by Macpherson, vol. 4. Toronto Star Ltd., no date. [1964]

Cartoons by Macpherson, vol. 5. Toronto Star Ltd., no date [1965]

Macpherson: World Events, Reportage Drawings, The Editorial Cartoon, 1966 Cartoons. Toronto Star Ltd., 1966.

1967 Editorial Cartoons Macpherson, vol. 7. Toronto Star Ltd., 1967.

1970 Editorial Cartoons Macpherson, vol. 8. Toronto Star Ltd., 1970.

1971 Macpherson Cartoons. Toronto: Star Reader Service, Oct. 1971.

Macpherson Editorial Cartoons 1972. Star Reader Service, Oct. 1972.

Macpherson Editorial Cartoons 1973. Star Reader Service, Oct. 1973..

Macpherson Editorial Cartoons 1974. Star Reader Service, Oct. 1974.

Macpherson Editorial Cartoons 1975. Star Reader Service, Oct. 1975.

Macpherson Editorial Cartoons 1976. Star Reader Service, Sept. 1976.

Macpherson Editorial Cartoons 1977. Star Reader Service, Sept. 1977.

Macpherson Editorial Cartoons 1978. Macmillan Co. Of Canada, 1978.

Macpherson Editorial Cartoons 1979. Macmillan Co. Of Canada, 1979.

Daily Smile: A Travelling Exhibition of Original Duncan Macpherson Cartoons Donated to the Public Archives of Canada by the Toronto Star. The Canadian Government Publishing Centre, Supply & Services, 1980.

How Pierre and I Saved the Civilized World. Writ., Gary Lautens. Methuen Publications, 1984. A collection of Lautens columns and a collection of Macpherson editorial cartoons.


 Content commentary political:

Hoods On The Hill. Writ., Senator Royce Firth. Coach House Press, 1991: 82.


Walter Gordon’s Seventieth Birthday Party. 27 January 1976.



Content history & Cover dust jacket:

The Golden Trail. Writ., Pierre Berton. Macmillan Co. of Canada, 1954.

Rumours of War. Writ., Ron Haggart & Aubrey E. Golden. New Press, 1971.

Content humour text & Cover Dust jacket front:

Letters from Lilac. Writ., George Bain. Macmillan Co. of Canada, 1978.

Needham’s Inferno. Writ., Richard J. Needham. Macmillan Co. of Canada, Nov. 1966.

Cover Dust jacket front:

 The Struggle For The Border, Longmans, Green & Co. Ltd., 1955.




Maclean’s, 16 Apr. 1955: “The Struggle for the Border Part 4: How Brock founded the Canadian myth.” Writ., Bruce Hutchison : 26-27.


Maclean’s, 18 May 1958: “The truth about the Sasquatch.” Writ., Vernon Hockley: 34-35, 67-72.

Sunday Star [Toronto], 23 Dec. 1979: “A Christmas Carol.” Writ., Val Sears: A16.

Toronto Star, 1 July, 1978: “A woman waiting at a window.” Writ., Morley Callaghan: C1-C2.

Cover front:

Maclean’s, 21 Dec. 1957.



Content  travel & Cover slipcase:

 Macpherson’s Canada. Toronto Star Ltd., 1969.



Professional Heckler: The Life & Art of Duncan Macpherson. Writ., Terry Mosher. Terry Mosher, 2020.

Article book:

Daily Smile: A Travelling Exhibition of Original Duncan Macpherson Cartoons Donated to the Public Archives of Canada by the Toronto Star. The Canadian Government Publishing Centre, Supply & Services, 1980.

The Hecklers. Writ. & Ed.., Peter Desbarates & Terry Mosher. McClelland & Stewart Ltd., 1979: 146-156, 243-244.

Article periodical:

Canadian Notes & Queries, 90, Summer 2014: “The Landscape: Duncan Macpherson.” By Gregory Gallant (Seth).

 Article newspaper:

Sunday Star [Toronto], 25 April 1993: “Celebrating Macpherson: Award-winning Star cartoonist retires after 35 years.” Writ., Jack Brehl., “The Making of a Master.” Writ., Jack Brehl., “The wicked wit and wisdom of devilish Duncan Macpherson.” a folio., “Tributes to a great cartoonist., writers, Pierre Berton, Edmund Wilson, anonymous, “As others see him.”, Cartoonists, Roy Peterson, Donato, John Larter, Terry Mosher. H1-H8.

Brantford Expositor, 24 Apr. 1973: “Impulsive cartoonist draws with a scalpel”: 4.

Globe and Mail, 6 July 1993: Obituary: A16.


C:\Users\Robert\Documents\CANADIAN CARTOONING ILLUSTRATION and ANIMATION\IMAGE BY CARTOONIST OR ILLUS. M\MACPHERSON DUNCAN, Toronto Star, 22 Nov 1979, A8.jpg On Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s 1st resignation as leader of the Liberal Party, Toronto Star, 22 Nov. 1979: A8

C:\Users\Robert\Documents\CARTOONING ILLUSTRATION ANIMATION\IMAGE BY CARTOONIST\M\MACPHERSON Duncan_0002.jpg Taken from program for Walter Gordon’s Seventieth Birthday Party, 1976. This cartoon which originally appeared in the Toronto Star, portrays the passage of the “Bank Act” by economic nationalist Walter Gordon of the Lester B. Pearson government. The act was passed to protect Canada’s financial independence from the U.S.A.


MacPherson Editorial Cartoons 1978: Front cover. This cartoon is an example of his sympathy for the average Canadian. This character appears in many of Macpherson’s editorial cartoons.