Mary Perkins, On Stage (originally titled simply On Stage) is an American newspaper comic strip by Leonard Starr for the Chicago-Tribune-New York News Syndicate. It ran from February, 1957 to September 9, 1979, with the switch to the longer title in 1961. Some papers carried the strip under the shortened title Mary Perkins.

Starr’s scripts mixed soap opera, adventure and broad humor, while the art was characterized by a studied line and often innovative storytelling. The strip offered a Broadway backstage drama as it followed the career of actress Mary Perkins in New York, Hollywood and on various international film sets and locations. A host of supporting characters joined Mary, including (in early September 1957) her photographer beau, Pete Fletcher. The two married on December 13, 1959.

The first On Stage Sunday strip was launched February 10, 1957. That is generally considered the start date for the strip, but in 1970, comics historian Raymond Miller wrote that internal evidence in the first Sunday page suggested the strip had at least a week’s worth of prior daily strips.


Starr won the National Cartoonists Society Story Comic Strip Award for the series in 1960 and 1963, and its Reuben Award in 1965. The strip came to a conclusion when Starr left in 1979 to take over Little Orphan Annie.

19 strips 1958



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