Thelma Keane, the inspiration for Mommy in The Family Circus, died Friday, the Arizona Republic reports.
Thelma Keane, depicted as Mommy in The Family Circus cartoon, died of Alzheimer's disease Friday at age 82.
Bil Keane's cartoons reflected his family's at-home adventures through Billy, Dolly, Jeffy, PJ and their parents. His wife, "Thel" (rhythms with bell), was an inspiration for the cartoons and had such a clear likeness to Mommy that people recognized her at grocery stores, the cartoonist said Sunday.
As The Family Circus gained fans, Thel became her husband's business and financial manager. The comic strip is now featured in about 1,500 newspapers.
"I give all the credit to my wife, Thel, who was the inspiration for all the cartoons," Keane said. "The loss means she was very, very vital to any success that I had."
When I was little, I read the cartoon, calling it "The Family Circle" because, well, it was in a circle and I didn't know better.
As I grew, I came to appreciate The Family Circus. While it was a simple comic strip, it was full of the intricacies of life: love, happiness, death, hurt, tears, laughter ... life.
And now, Mommy has died.
We'll miss her.