Dr. Richard Moriarty, founder of the Pittsburgh Poison Center and creator of the familiar Mr. Yuk icon, died yesterday at the age of 83.
His death comes a little more than a month after I wrote about a beer league hockey team in Pittsburgh called — with Moriarty’s blessing — the Mighty Yuks.
Moriarty came up with Mr. Yuk in 1971 as a way of labeling products that were harzardous to ingest. More than a half-century later, Mr. Yuk is still going strong, both as a warning symbol and as a cultural totem — including, of course, here at Uni Watch, where I’ve been using Mr. Yuk to indicate my displeasure with ad-clad uniforms for several years now.
It’s not often that someone creates something so simple that becomes such a universal touchstone. Kudos to Dr. Moriarty, and condolences to his family and friends. R.I.P.
(Special thanks to reader Paul Wood, who was Moriarty’s neighbor, for bringing Moriarity’s death to my attention.)