Southbury, CT April 28-29, 2012
Jack Berrill’s comic strip GIL THORP has appeared nationwide since it began in September 1958. Hailed as “the Cal Ripken of comic strip artists” by Sports Illustrated, Jack wrote and drew the strip in his home studios in Connecticut, first in New Milford and later in Brookfield, until his death in 1996. Gill Thorp attracted millions of readers and devoted fans. Other artists and writers have continued the strip since that time.
Veronica Berrill, Jack’s widow, is mounting a retrospective of Jack’s work at Pomperaug Woods, where she now lives, in conjunction with her family and Pomperaug Woods’ staff. The show will be open to the public, free of charge, on Saturday & Sunday, April 28 and 29, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“I am so pleased to have the opportunity to share Jack’s original work with the community,” said Mrs. Berrill. “Jack loved sports, he loved art and he loved people – especially young people – and his strip brought all these loves together.”
The show will include a large selection of original panels of GIL THORP, grouped by decades from the 50’s through the mid-90’s along with memorabilia associated with the strip and juvenilia and other works reflecting Jack’s career as a cartoonist.
After this final GIL THORP show the family will donate the collection to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum and Library at Ohio State University.
Jack Berrill was born in Brooklyn, New York and was interested as a child in cartooning and was actively encouraged by his parents, Lillian and Thomas Berrill. He graduated from the art program at Brooklyn Technical High School and was hired as a copy boy in the Art Department at the New York Daily News.
During his second year at the News, his cartoons in the house organ caught the eye of Martin Branner, the creator of the successful cartoon feature, “Winnie Winkle”. Jack wrote narrative for that strip until he joined the Army Air Corp where he served in England for three years during the war.
Upon his return from service, Berrill resumed his collaboration with Branner. He married Veronica Dawson in 1947 and the couple moved to the New Milford/Brookfield area of Connecticut where they raised seven children.
In 1958 Jack sold GIL THORP, to the Chicago-Tribune-New York News Syndicate. His feature appeared in more than 100 newspapers throughout the country and was, and still is, a story strip about a high school coach and the athletes he mentored. Some stories addressed controversial social issues affecting Berrill’s young readers.
From 1966-1976, Jack also wrote and drew a feature for the Sunday News called TEEN WISE. It offered gentle and humorous advice for teens.
GIL THORP appeared in the Hartford Courant, the Waterbury Republican, the News-Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Detroit Free Press and many more.
Veronica and the six surviving Berrill children will be present at the show. David lives in Glastonbury, CT; Anne Carroll lives in Manhattan; Thomas in Bristol, CT; Kevin in Washington DC; Stephen in Bethpage, NY and Bonnie Kirkpatrick in San Rafael, CA.
The retrospective show will be held at 80 Heritage Road, Southbury, Connecticut (Pomperaug Woods Retirement Community), 203-267-2835 ext. 111.
The Annual Connecticut Senior Juried Art Show is also hosted at Pomperaug Woods each September. The 2012 Show will mark the fifth anniversary of Connecticut’s only senior juried show. Becky Butler and Lisa Huebenthal co-produce the yearly event which showcases the talent of CT artists age 70+. This show too is open to the public free of charge and more information is available here.
Pomperaug Woods is the first and only not-for-profit retirement community in the Tribury area with consistent ownership and stable management. Located on 22 acres in Southbury, Pomperaug Woods offers people 62+ a financially secure living option. Residents enjoy a warm neighborhood atmosphere, convenient amenities and the peace of mind that comes from living in a financially secure community. (www.PomperaugWoods.com).