Tuesday, March 17, 2009
HYPE IGOE WAS A COLORFUL FIGURE
New York, Feb. 14, 1945– Bert A. (Hype) Igoe, sport writer and cartoonist, who died here this week, was as colorful a figure as any of the men in the fight game he vividly described with pen and typewriter.
His friend Damon Runyan, Broadway columnist and raconteur, called Igoe “probably the best-informed writer on boxing who ever lived.”
He was almost the last remaining of men in the United States newspaper world who both reported and cartooned in the manner of the famous late T. A. (Tad) Dorgan, once Igoe’s close friend.
Igoe probably learned much of his drawing ability from Dorgan, and probably some of his sports writing talent from Bill McGeehan. All three were San Franciscans who gained fame in New York.
It was Dorgan who helped popularize the label “Hype”, which Igoe had hung on him by a 300 pound Negro elevator operator. The operator took one look at the slender 15 year old copy-boy back in the days when he was working for the San Francisco Examiner and observed: “Mr. Igoe, yo ain’t no bigger than a hypodermic needle.”
Igoe advanced to the sports desk before migrating to New York in 1907 where he worked for a time illustrating theatre programs before he joined the staff of the New York Journal.
After spells on the Sun, the New York American and the Morning World, he returned to the Journal in 1927 to specialize in writing and drawing about boxing.
Igoe had just recovered from a foot infection which had kept him from the desk where he wrote and drew for Hearst newspapers last month when a heart attack sent him to hospital where he died. He was 67.
The keen-eyed, sharp-nosed Igoe, whose pince-nez sat cockily on his humorous face, had a yen to manage prize-fighters instead of just writing about them, but he rarely managed to pick out good ones.
One venture along this line landed him in jail when he ignored a court order calling for payment of training fees.
Igoe emerged from the cells sporting a 90 day beard, to be greeted by friends at a coming out party at which all guests wore tastefully striped “prison” suits.
The cartoonist loved to strum his ukulele, and often was ejected from Jack Dempsey’s restaurant on Broadway for insisting upon leading the waiters in song.
Another eccentricity made him extremely averse to wearing overcoats, preferring merely to wrap newspapers under an ordinary suit-coat and venture out in all weathers. Several attacks of pneumonia resulted.
*Illustration from Cyber Boxing Zone Message Board.