Bill Leak, Australian editorial cartoonist, Died at 61


Bill Leak was born Desmond Robert Leak in 1956 and died on March 10, 2017.

He was an Australian editorial cartoonist, caricaturist, and portraitist.

He was raised in Condobolin and Beacon Hill, Sydney, Leak attended the Julian Ashton Art School in the 1970s.

Leak’s cartoons were first published in 1983 in The Bulletin and after he drew for The Sydney Morning Herald until 1994, when he was recruited by News Limited to contribute to The Daily-Telegraph-Mirror and later to The Australian.

He has presented paintings into the Archibald on several occasions, having won the People’s Choice Award in 1994 for his portrait of Malcolm Turnbull and the Packing Room Prize twice, in 1997.

In the years 2000, for his portraits of Tex Perkins and Sir Les Patterson respectively.

His novel Heart Cancer was published in 2005 and in 2008 ABC TV aired his six-part series Face Painting.

His editorial cartoons for The Australian were at the centre of several controversies.

Leak’s work which received considerable media coverage include a 2006 cartoon drawn during the West Papuan refugee crisis, a series of cartoons in 2007 that featured Kevin Rudd as Tintin, also a 2015 cartoon depicting starving Indian people attempting to eat solar panels and a additional two cartoons in 2016, one an illustration of a neglectful Aboriginal father and another that depicted same-sex marriage campaigners wearing rainbow-coloured Nazi uniforms.

Leak sustained serious head injuries October 18, 2008, when he fell off a balcony while trying to feed African grey parrots and gang-gang cockatoos.

Due to the fall, brain surgery was required and after surgery he was in a serious condition.

Bill’s partner Lo Mong Lau, along with his oldest son Johannes and his mother and sister, joined him to be by his side at the Royal North Shore Hospital where he was treated.

Even though the outlook was initially poor, Bill recovered.

He died due to a suspected heart attack.

Bill Leak passed away at 61 years old.