Statue Of Family Circus Creator Unveiled

November 08, 2013

(Photo by Alexandra Olgin-KJZZ)
A photo of a framed Family Circus comic at the Sugar Bowl ice cream parlor and restaurant in Scottsdale.

A statue is being unveiled to remember the creator of the Family Circus comic strip on Friday. Bil Keane’s family is erecting his memorial exactly two years after his death. The statue is a nine foot bronze model of Bil Keane carrying the Family Circus characters. Bil’s youngest son Jeff said he modeled the statue on a porcelain figurine his father created in the 80’s.

“And that was a great inspiration, we thought, 'Well that’s it!' We’ll have our dad with his characters on his back," said Jeff Keane.

The memorial in Scottsdale at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is sandwiched between the carousel and the railroad track. Keane said it was important for his family to have the memorial at a kid friendly place.

“And what’s great about this park is that it is full of families, kids running around, a lot of noise. Which is just like every other family, and that’s what the Family Circus was about," said Keane.

Bil began the comic in 1960, and it has appeared in 1,500 newspapers since then. KJZZ did an interview with Bil to commemorate the 44th anniversary of his comics in 2004. In that interview, he said so many Americans were able to connect with the comic of its relatable family dynamic.

“Family structure changed, single moms, working mothers of all kinds. Every type of home has its own structure I feel that family itself is backbone of America," said Bil Keane at the time.

Bil’s son Jeff fell into the family business when he started helping his father ink the comic after college. Jeff said taking over has helped him stay connected to his dad. 

“When I sit down and look at a blank sheet of paper, I am drawing my dad and my mom, my brothers and sisters. Everyday I remember my dad," Keane said.