Cartoonist Ted Key, 95, whose characters included a bossy maid and a time-traveling dog scientist, died at his Tredyffrin home on Saturday.
Hazel made Mr. Key famous: The maid became a weekly feature in The Saturday Evening Post soon after he sold his first cartoon to the publication in 1943. He drew Hazel for 50 years.
But younger readers may best remember Mr. Key's animated characters - Mr. Peabody, the genius dog, and his boy, Sherman - that he drew for Rocky and His Friends.
Mr. Key was born Aug. 25, 1912, in Fresno, Calif. He moved to Tredyffrin in 1951, soon after he left the Army, said his youngest son, Peter. Other than the few times someone stopped to stare at him mowing his lawn, Mr. Key was largely protected from the invasion of privacy fame often brings, his son said. Mr. Key's experience in the suburbs colored his portrayal of Hazel.
"Even though she was of the suburbs and the family lived in the suburbs, she still satirized them in her own way," Peter Key said.
Mr. Key drew cartoons for his college paper at the University of California at Berkeley and struggled to find work after graduating in 1933.
His big break came in 1943, when The Saturday Evening Post bought the Hazel cartoon.
"She wasn't at all like Hazel today," Mr. Key said in a 1966 interview with The Inquirer. "She was rather stupid and the humor was in laughing at her, not with her."
A year later, Mr. Key tried a tougher, bossier version of Hazel. The cartoon was picked up for syndication by King Features in 1969.
Hazel also became a prime-time TV series in 1961 that starred Shirley Booth and ran for four years on NBC and one year on CBS.
Mr. Key had a job that impressed the neighborhood children, Peter Key said. He once drew a Hazel Halloween cartoon where the maid stood at the front door as several costumed children walked by. Despite their masks, Hazel was calling each of them by name - the names of Peter's friends.
Since Mr. Key's death, his sons have found numerous scribbles of new characters left behind in his drawers.
"He executed a ton of ideas, but he still didn't have time to execute them all," Peter Key said.
Mr. Key also wrote screenplays, wrote a play for radio, authored children's books and created motivational "Positive Attitude" posters and pamphlets.
In 2006, Mr. Key was diagnosed with bladder cancer and last fall, he suffered a stroke.
In addition to his son, he is survived by his second wife, Bonnie; sons David and Stephen; and three grandchildren. His first wife, Anne, died in 1984.
Services are private.