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Mort tells all

Mort Walker, 87, creator of Beetle Bailey, spent Oct. 22, 2010, on campus helping dedicate the MU Student Center. The new facility, which replaces Brady Commons, includes Mort’s Lounge and a statue of Walker’s legendarily lazy U.S. Army private.

When Walker first arrived at Mizzou in 1946, his career as a cartoonist and graphic artist was well under way. At age 13, he wrote a regular strip for the Kansas City Journal. By age 15, he already had sold 300 cartoons, and by 17 he was a lead artist at Hallmark, where he helped launch a line of humorous cards. While a student at Mizzou, he worked as a freelancer for Hallmark, illustrating several cards a week, in addition to taking courses, editing Missouri Showme, serving as president of the Kappa Sigma fraternity, working on the Savitar, writing plays and more.

“I’ve always had too much to do,” says Walker, BA ’48, who still writes Beetle Bailey. “For me, school was a center for my activities, but not necessarily a center of learning.”

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