NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y., July 5 -- Alfred Harvey, the founder and former owner of Harvey Famous Comics and publisher of Richie Rich and Casper the Friendly Ghost, has died of heart failure. He was 80 years old.
In a coma since 1989, Harvey died Monday at New Rochelle Hospital in Westchester, his son Russell Harvey said. Funeral services were held in Larchmont, N.Y., Tuesday afternoon. Harvey published several popular titles -- such as Wendy, Baby Huey, Hot Stuff and Little Audrey -- but the company was best known for Casper and Richie Rich, the boy billionaire. The company, which was sold to California investors in 1989 and went public in 1992, also licensed comic strips, including Blondie and Dick Tracy. Harvey founded the company in the 1940s, unsuccessfully publishing digest-sized or smaller-sized comics aimed at an older audience. But he soon began to concentrate to full-size comics geared toward younger children, such as Richie Rich, and experienced phenomenal success, said Ron Goulart, editor of the Encyclopedia of American Comics. Harvey is survived by his four sons, a daughter and three grandchildren. His second wife, Elsa Victoria Lorne Harvey, died in March.