Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Larry Whittington

Carl Lawrence “Larry” Whittington was born in West Virginia around 1903 according to most census records and death information.

In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Whittington was the third of four children born to John, a carpenter, and Naomi. The family resided in Columbus, Ohio, at 387 Loeffler Avenue.

The 1920 census recorded the Whittington family in Cincinnati, Ohio, at 942 Morris Street. Information regarding his education and art training has not been found. Soon, Whittington moved to New York City.

According to American Newspaper Comics (2012), Whittington drew Gene Carr’s Kitty Kildare from October 1 to 8, 1922. For The Evening World (New York), Whittington created Fritzi Ritz which debuted October 9, 1922. His last strip appeared May 13, 1925. The next day’s strip was by Ernie Bushmiller
Fritzi Ritz, from October 9 to December 29, 1922, can be viewed here.


Whittington left the World to produce Mazie the Model for the New York Mirror. The strip saw print from May 25, 1925 to April 14, 1928.

The 1925 New York State census listed cartoonist Whittington in Manhattan, New York City at 228 West 72 Street.

Whittington has not yet been found in the 1930 census. His oldest sister, Ida, was married to Walter Leonhardt whose household included three children and his father-in-law. They resided in Queens, New York, at 4371 164th Street.

Whittington did the drawings for Assen Jordanoff’s Flying and How to Do It which was published by Grosset & Dunlap in 1932.

The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Group 2. Pamphlets, Etc., 1936 New Series, Volume 33, Number 8, had this entry:

Whittington (Larry) Daisy Daily and Dotty Dawn © July 23, 1936; A 74645; General features syndicate, Inc., New York. 30593
Daisy Daily and Dotty Dawn ran in the weekly Hastings News (Hastings on the Hudson, New York) from March 19, 1937 to March 11, 1938.


According to the 1940 census, Whittington and his mother, a widow, resided at the same address, 4314 214th Place, Queens, New York, as his brother-in-law, Walter. Whittington’s occupation was artist in the art industry.

Whittington passed away November 26, 1942, in Long Island City, New York. His accidental death was reported the same day in the Long Island Star-Journal (New York).

Larry Whittington, 40, of 43-24 214th street, Bayside.
Whittington was struck by a car driven by Bennett Spolan of 118-09 83rd avenue, Kew Gardens, and died a half hour later in St. John’s Hospital, Long Island City. Police absolved Spolan of blame in the accident.
Whittington was widely known as a cartoonist. He originated the comic strip “Fritzy [sic] Ritz,” in the old World in 1922 and later created “Mazie the Model” for the Mirror.
Whittington’s career as a comic strip cartoonist was interrupted 12 years ago when his right arm was broken in an automobile accident but he continued to work as an illustrator and recently did the drawings for a book, “Learn to Fly.”
He lived with a sister, Mrs. Ida Leonhardt. Another sister, Margaret Whittington, lives in Sunnyside.
The New York, New York, Death Index, at Ancestry.com, said he was 39.

* * * * *

Whittington’s sister, Marjorie, was declared, by Flo Ziegfeld, to have perfect feet and the shapeliest legs. Her perfect feet was reported in the Delmarvia Star (Wilmington, Delaware), June 11, 1922, which said Charles Dana Gibson had the same opinion. The front page of the Cincinnati Post, July 31, 1922, included a headline that read, “Cincinnati Girl’s Legs Called Shapeliest”, and said:

…Such is the perfection of Miss Whittington’s legs, such the art with which nature has shaped them, such their faultless symmetry, that Flo Ziegfeld has had them insured for $250,000, as one insures a rare painting to a specimen of Gobelin tapestry…. 
…Miss Whittington, whose quality has been brought to national attention, once was a frail child, according to her relatives. By exercise she remedied physical deficiencies so that she had no difficulty winning an engagement in “Ziegfeld’d Follies.” Formerly she did a pogo stick act in the “Follies,” Now she does a whistling act.
Marjorie Whittington (left) and Dolores Rouse

On occasion, news about Marjorie would also mention her brother as a cartoonist of the Evening World.

The Daily Star (Queens, New York), July 11, 1928, reported the siblings’ involvement in an early morning tragedy.

The body of Hendrick C. Nelson, thirty-five, wealthy sportsman and manager of Gorham’s Fifth avenue, Manhattan, silverware house, was recovered last night from the bottom of Long Island Sound off Whitestone, where Nelson sank early yesterday morning with a cramp during an impromptu bathing party.
Joseph Snyder of Twelfth avenue and Wilfred Lake of Twelfth road, Whitestone, life guards, found Nelson’s body with grappling hooks. Nelson’s fiends spent hours diving for the body and members of the Police Harbor Squad dragged the bottom near where the man drowned.
Nelson wound up a joy ride in the company of Miss Marjorie Whittington, Follies girl who won renown as “the girl with the million dollar legs,” and Miss Whittington’s brother, Larry Whittington, cartoonist an creator of “Mazie the Model.”
The party also included John Sparrell of Cedar lane, Douglaston, and John Wingate of Eighth avenue, Malba. It had been at Wingate’s home and had stopped at Villa Beau Rivage on Merritt road, Whitestone, when several of the group decided to take an early morning dip.
They were in the water only a few minutes when Nelson was seen to double up with a cramp and sink.
Whittington dived for the drowning man and brought him up, but left him after a minute to aid his sister who became hysterical and was also in danger. Nelson sank again and Wingate, grasping his arm, endeavored to swim ashore with him, but became exhausted and was obliged to let go. Help was called.
Later in the day Nelson’s friends joined the police and life guards in grappling for their companion’s body. Miss Whittington and her brother also dove many times in fruitless efforts to locate Nelson.
Wingate posted a reward of $100 for the recovery of the body. When the Whitestone life guards found Nelson, clad only in his underwear and bent double, Miss Whittington collapsed. The others were also attended by a physician.
The Whittington siblings were news again, this time for their misbehavior as reported in the Daily Star, August 15, 1932.
‘Million-Dollar Legs Beauty’ and Brother Arrested After Stabbing Affray
Franklin, Mass., Aug. 15, (U.P.)—Marjorie Whittington, twenty-eight, former Follies girl, and her brother, Lawrence, twenty-five, who gave Flushing, L. I., as their address, are scheduled to appear in District Court here Thursday on charges of disturbing the peace.
They were arrested early Saturday in a cottage at Lake Archer, Wrentham, after the stabbing of one James Gillis, described as a guest at the camp. Gillis suffered only superficial wounds. Miss Whittington and her brother have denied all knowledge of the stabbing.
Wrentham, Mass., Aug, 16.—A young woman who described herself as Marjorie Whittington, former Follies beauty and known to Broadway as “the girl with the million dollar legs,” is under arrest here today on a charge of disturbing the peace and intoxication.
The Marjorie Whittington who was president of the “Follies” Alumnae Association in 1924 formerly lived at 55-11 158th street, Flushing.
According to police, the young woman was taken into custody with a man who said he was Larry Whittington, her brother, after James Gillis of New York City had been stabbed during a fracas in a Lake Archer cottage.
Gillis was taken to the Norwood Hospital, where his condition was reported as favorable. The police allege that the young woman inflicted the stab wound in his back with an icepick.
In November last, Miss Whittington caused the arrest of her brother Lawrence, a cartoonist, on a charge of disorderly conduct, alleging that he had kicked her in the back at Northern boulevard and Farrington street, Flushing.
Whittington was released on bail provided by his sister and later discharged when she failed to appear against him in Flushing Magistrates’ Court.
On November 28, 1931, Miss Whittington was seriously injured in an automobile accident when the car she was-driving skidded and struck an “L” pillar at the Flushing end of the Roosevelt avenue bridge. It was learned at that time that she carried a $50,000 insurance policy against injury to her legs.
At the same time it was reported that a purse containing several valuable pieces of Jewelry and some cash disappeared from the wrecked automobile.
The Boston Herald, (Massachusetts), August 19, 32, said each Whittington was fined twenty-five dollars for disturbing the peace and guilty of drunkenness.

Marjorie passed away in 1957. The Schenectady Gazette (New York), October 25, 1957, carried news of her death.
Ziegfeld Star Dies Suddenly
New York, Oct. 24 (AP)—Marjorie Whittington, 55, whose legs once were insured by the late Flo Ziegfeld for a million dollars, collapsed and died yesterday in Grand Central Station.
The former star of the Ziegfeld Follies in the 1920s was identified today as the woman who collapsed on a subway platform in the station. Relatives were located through a telephone number found in her effects. She had been living with friends.
The Actors Fund said it was taking over funeral arrangements.

—Alex Jay


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