Harvey Pekar dies at 70

MUMBAI: Harvey Pekar, who chronicled his travails as a low-level filing clerk in the comic series American Splendor that was made into an award-winning 2003 film expired at the age of 70.

Pekar, who had a range of ailments including prostate cancer, high blood pressure, asthma and clinical depression was found dead by his wife, Joyce Brabner in their house in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

An employee of the Veterans Administration Hospital in Cleveland until he retired in 2001, Pekar became friends with underground comics creator Robert Crumb through their mutual love of jazz and began contributing stories to The People‘s Comics in the 1970s. Starting 1976, Pekar started publishing tales under the title American Splendor, with Crumb serving as the series‘ first illustrator.

During the ‘80s, the success of his comics as well as his mordant sense of humor brought him close to David Letterman. This association led to a series of appearances on Letterman‘s late-night NBC show where he freely criticised NBC‘s parent company General Electric.

After he was diagnosed with lymphatic Cancer in 1990, Pekar along with his third wife Brabner wrote the book-length comic Our Cancer Year detailing the grueling treatment.

Their life was brought to the screen in Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini‘s film American Splendor in which Paul Giamatti played Pekar while Pekar made an appearance playing Real Harvey.

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