Legendary Daily News sports cartoonist Bill Gallo, 88, whose creations such as “Basement Bertha” were beloved by the New York fans who followed him for decades, died Tuesday night of complications from pneumonia at White Plains Hospital.
“The passing of our great cartoonist, colleague and friend Bill Gallo marks the end of an era,” said Mortimer Zuckerman, publisher of the tabloid.
Though he had been battling illness for the past few months, Gallo continued to draw at home and from the hospital. His final cartoon — a drawing of Bertha, the voice of the New York sports fan, hoping to be invited to the royal wedding in London — was published on April 19.
Gallo, who was originally hired by the News as a copy boy in 1941, left to serve in the Marine Corps during World War II. He returned to the newspaper in 1950, where he worked until his death. He took on the sports beat in 1960.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg called Gallo a “New York institution.”
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Gallo was a good friend who was “all heart.”
“Bill had a soft spot for the underdog. He revered greats like Mantle, not for being on top but for the pain he played through,” Kelly said in a statement.
Gallo’s wake will be today from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel. A funeral mass will be held tomorrow at 9 a.m. at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
A private burial will be held at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery.