Artist Details

Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein was one of those rare "multi-threat" artists -- composer, singer, cartoonist, illustrator, author -- with popular successes in all of those areas. Born in Chicago in 1930, Sheldon Alan Silverstein first attracted notice during his army service, in Japan and Korea, when he became a cartoonist for the U.S. Army publication Stars & Stripes. After returning to civilian life, he made a part of his living selling hot dogs at Chicago's two ballparks, and, according to a 1961 publisher's biography, set a record for the number of hot dogs sold at Thursday night games. He also began drawing cartoons for magazines such as Look, Sports Illustrated, and This Week, but it was when he joined Playboy magazine in mid-'50s that his name started getting known nationally. The magazine was then on the cutting edge of popular culture, and Silverstein's cartoons, which appeared in every issue from 1957 through the mid-'70s, with their satirical and provocative content, were some of the sharpest work in there.