Don Pegler, 82, created bugs in “Raid” campaign

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Raid  Bugs

Raid Bugs

Artist, illus­tra­tor and ani­ma­tor Don­ald “Don” Pegler, cre­ator of the unfor­tu­nate bugs seen in Tex Avery’s com­mer­cials for Raid, died of lung can­cer Decem­ber 26 at his home in Park Ridge, Illi­nois, a Chicago sub­urb. He was 82.

Dur­ing his 40-year tenure at Chicago adver­tis­ing agency Foote, Cone & Beld­ing, now Draft­fcb, he col­lab­o­rated with Avery — the pro­ducer of the TV spots — and leg­endary voice actor Mel Blanc. The famed Raid bug cam­paign began in 1963.

For the first 10 years of his career, he was a mag­a­zine illus­tra­tor and worked at an ani­ma­tion stu­dio. Mov­ing to Park Ridge in 1962, he joined Foote, Cone & Beld­ing and was put in charge of the Raid account.

Pegler “cod­i­fied the look, feel and ani­ma­tion” of the weird insects that run in fear of Raid, said Steve Schildwachter, exec­u­tive vice-president at Draftfcb.

He is the father of a cam­paign that is known and loved in more than 90 coun­tries around the world,” said Schildwachter, who worked with Pegler dur­ing the last few years of his career. “Don was a kind and hum­ble per­son and very impor­tant, com­mer­cially. He con­tributed to pop culture.”

When I started on the Raid account, I really liked it, but I never thought it would still be going 50 years later,” Pegler said in a 2010 inter­view with fel­low artist Chicago Dave Wit­tekind. “And I got to go out to Hol­ly­wood and work with famous peo­ple like Mel Blanc and Tex Avery.

At the time, I didn’t real­ize how famous they were… just a guy mak­ing funny voices — and dri­ving a Rolls-Royce. Years later at an ani­ma­tion show, some peo­ple wanted to touch some of the notes Tex Avery had sent me as if they were touch­ing the Holy Grail,” he added.

Born and raised in Chicago’s Ravenswood neigh­bor­hood, Pegler was the son of a Chicago police offi­cer. He nearly became a police­man, but found work as an artist a month before being called for duty.

After the Sec­ond World War, he served over­seas with the United States Army in Japan before return­ing home to study at the Uni­ver­sity of Illi­nois and the School of the Art Insti­tute of Chicago on the GI bill.

He was taught ani­ma­tion by a for­mer Dis­ney man at Car­toon­ists, Inc., a Chicago studio.

In a dog-eat-dog busi­ness where every­one was scram­bling to get noticed, he was everybody’s friend,” said for­mer co-worker Rick Stein­man. “He made every­body laugh.”

Pegler was pre­de­ceased by his wife, Bri­die Cullen. He is sur­vived by sisters-in-law Grace Gut­man and Pat Camp­bell; chil­dren Nancy, Mike, Kathie, Lau­rie, Kevin, John and Bob; and grand­chil­dren Amy, Jen, Katie, Colleen and Rick Blonn; Kelly and Kevin Zurek; and Stephanie, Jack, Eliz­a­beth, Cather­ine and Ryan Pegler.

A funeral was held last Fri­day at Nel­son Funeral Home in Park Ridge. Inter­ment was at All Saints Ceme­tery in Des Plaines, Illinois.

In lieu of flow­ers, the fam­ily sug­gests dona­tions to Mis­eri­cor­dia, Amer­i­can Can­cer Soci­ety or Rain­bow Hos­pice. Infor­ma­tion is avail­able at (847) 823‑5122.

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