Friends Remember Doug Marlette

Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist Doug Marlette is being remembered as a defender of free speech and a "beautiful friend."

Marlette, a Greensboro native who split his time between Hillsborough and Tulsa, Oklahoma, died Tuesday in an automobile accident. The 57-year-old was the passenger in a pickup truck that authorities believed hydroplaned in heavy rain and struck a tree near Holly Springs, Mississippi.

The driver was treated at an Oxford hospital and released.

Marlette started his cartooning career at The Charlotte Observer in 1972, and had worked for the Tulsa World since February 2006. He also worked at the Atlanta Journal Constitution and Newsday.

His comic strip "Kudzu" was syndicated worldwide.

Marlette was remembered during a funeral service as a staunch supporter of free speech and as a "beautiful friend."

He's survived by his wife, Melinda Hartley Marlette; a son, Jackson Marlette; brother Chris Marlette and sister Marianne Marlette.