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Playboy cartoonist Robert Brown dies of stroke at age 71

Cartoonist Robert "Buck" Brown, who created Playboy magazine's infamously naughty "Granny" character, died after suffering a stroke, family members said.

Brown, 71, died July 2 in a hospital in south suburban Chicago, said daughter Tracy Hill.

Brown became a leading black artist whose work was filled with social commentary about the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. While he was most famous for his cartoons, Brown also was a noted painter of what he called "soul genre paintings" - humorous, slice-of-life images.

Brown's first cartoon, a black-and-white drawing of a boy holding a trumpet, appeared in Playboy in 1962, according to a 1981 biography. The character that became "Granny," his first color cartoon for the publication, came four years later.

In the decades that followed, the magazine printed more than 600 of his cartoons, including one that appears in the magazine's August issue. He sold thousands more to other publications, Hill said. Brown's work also appeared in Ebony, Jet and Esquire.

The Morrison, Tennessee, native moved to Chicago as a boy and graduated from Englewood High School on the city's South Side in 1954. Brown began to gain notoriety for his artwork during a stint in the U.S. Air Force the following year and later and at the University of Illinois.

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