Syd(ney) Hoff (1912-2004) Biography
See index for SATA sketch: Born September 4, 1912, in New York, NY; died of pneumonia, May 12, 2004, in Miami Beach, FL. Cartoonist, illustrator, and author. Hoff turned his original career as a cartoonist into an even more successful career as a children's book author and illustrator best known for such books as Danny and the Dinosaur (1958) and Sammy, the Seal (1959). Showing a talent for art from a very early age, he was accepted by the National Academy of Design when he was just sixteen. However, he never completed a degree, deciding that instead of fine art he wished to pursue cartooning. Hoff quickly found success at age eighteen when the New Yorker accepted one of his cartoons. He became a regular contributor of cartoons to the New Yorker, as well as other national magazines such as the Saturday Evening Post and Look. During the 1940s, he drew the nationally syndicated cartoon "Tuffy," and from 1958 to 1977 he wrote and illustrated the "Laugh It Off" strip. Hoff also hosted the Tales of Hoff CBS children's television series for a time. It is for his children's books, though, that Hoff is most often remembered. He wrote and illustrated over sixty of these during his career, from 1940's Muscles and Brains to 1996's Danny and the Dinosaur Go to Camp. Danny and the Dinosaur appeared in Happy Birthday, Danny and the Dinosaur! (1995), as well, and Hoff also created the recurring character of Henrietta, who appeared in seven books, including Henrietta Lays Some Eggs (1977), Henrietta's Halloween (1980), and Happy Birthday, Henrietta! (1983). In addition to his own work, he illustrated the writings of such children's authors as Arthur Kober, Allan Sherman, Joan M. Lexau, and Joan Lowery Nixon. His books for adults include over two dozen works ranging from instructional books on cartooning to joke books to cartoon collections.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
St. James Guide to Children's Writers, 5th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999.
Twentieth-Century Children's Writers, 4th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1995.
Los Angeles Times, May 17, 2004, p. B11.
New York Times, May 17, 2004, p. A23.
Times (London, England), June 15, 2004, p. 30.
Washington Post, May 16, 2004, p. C12.