July 10, 2007 / 10:49 PM / in 12 years

Cartoonist Doug Marlette dies in Mississippi crash

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (Reuters) - Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Doug Marlette, the irreverent creator of the “Kudzu” comic strip, died on Tuesday in a Mississippi car crash, his newspaper said.

The 57-year-old Marlette, who joined the Tulsa World newspaper last year, was a passenger in a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck and was killed when it skidded off a rain-slicked road and plowed into a tree, the Oklahoma daily said.

It said Marlette, whose career in newspapers spanned 35 years, had been on his way to visit friends in Oxford, Mississippi, after attending the funeral of his father last Friday in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Marlette’s editorial cartoons and his comic strip, “Kudzu,” were syndicated worldwide and he won a host of prizes for his professional work, including the Pultizer in 1988.

“Kudzu,” which focused on the comic side of life in the rural South, took its name from a pernicious weed that can grow up to a foot a day.

The weed could “overtake slow-moving children,” Marlette said in “Kudzu a Southern Musical,” a theatrical adaptation of the comic strip.

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