PASSINGS: George Gladir

George Gladir, 87, a prolific writer and cartoonist for Archie Comics who for half a century breathed life into Jughead, Archie, Veronica and other well-known residents of the imaginary town of Riverdale, died April 3 in Encinitas after a short illness, his family announced. The cause was not disclosed.

Gladir, who lived in Oceanside, was also the co-creator in 1962 of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, who was a character for Archie Comics before becoming the central figure three decades later of a popular television series. Gladir often said he gained insight and inspiration for Sabrina from observing his own daughter as she was growing up.


Gladir was still penning "Archie" comics, as well as "The Three Stooges" comics, until a few weeks before his death, his family said.

Born in New York City on Sept. 27, 1925, Gladir was the son of Russian immigrants. He went to Stuyvesant High School in the city, then served in the Army during World War II. He took part in the Normandy invasion before being captured by a German army unit and becoming a prisoner of war.

After the war, he studied at New York's School of Visual Arts, then reenlisted in the Army and served as an intelligence officer in Germany during the Korean War.

In the 1950s, Gladir drew single-panel cartoons for magazines, and in 1959 he began writing scripts about the adventures of Archie Andrews and his fictional teenage pals.

In October 1962, together with artist Dan DeCarlo and years before author J.K. Rowling introduced a new generation to the fun of witches and wizards, Gladir created Sabrina, a half-magical teenager who lives with her witch aunts and their cat Salem, a former warlock.

In 2007, Gladir received the Bill Finger Award for excellence in comic book writing, considered a top honor in the field and presented annually at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

-- Los Angeles Times staff reports