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Jim Davis (cartoonist)

Jim Davis
Jim Davis in 2010
Born James Robert Davis
(1945-07-28) July 28, 1945
Marion, Indiana
Occupation Cartoonist
Years active 1969 - Present
Known for Garfield comic strip
(1978–present)
Parent(s) James William "Jim" Davis (father)
Anna Catherine "Betty" Davis (mother)

James Robert "Jim" Davis (born July 28, 1945) is an American cartoonist, best known as the creator of the comic strips Garfield and U.S. Acres (aka Orson's Farm), the former of which has been published since 1978 and has since become the world's most widely syndicated comic strip. Davis's other comics work includes Tumbleweeds, Gnorm Gnat and Mr. Potato Head.

Davis has written (or in some cases co-written) all of the Emmy Award-winning or nominated Garfield TV specials and was one of the producers behind the Garfield & Friends TV show which aired on CBS from 1988 to 1994. Davis is the writer and executive producer of a trilogy of CGI-direct-to-video feature films about Garfield, as well as one of the executive producers and the creator for the new CGI-animated TV series The Garfield Show. He continues to work on the strip.

Personal life

Jim Davis was born in Marion, Indiana on July 28, 1945.[1] Davis grew up on a small farm in Fairmount, Indiana, with his father James William "Jim" Davis, mother Anna Catherine "Betty" (née Carter) Davis, brother Dave and 25 cats. Davis's childhood on a farm parallels the life of Garfield's owner, Jon Arbuckle, who was also raised on a farm with his parents and a brother, Doc Boy. Jon is a cartoonist, who also celebrates his birthday on July 28. Davis attended Ball State University where he studied art and business. While attending Ball State, he became a member of the Theta Xi fraternity.

Unlike the bachelor, Jon Arbuckle, Davis has been married twice, first to Carolyn (Altekruse), who was allergic to cats,[2] though they owned a dog named Molly.[3] They have a son, James Alexander Davis.[2][4] On July 16, 2000, Davis married his current wife, Jill, and had two more children: Ashley and Christopher.[3]

Davis resides in Albany, Indiana, where he and his staff produce Garfield under his Paws, Inc. company, launched in 1981. Paws, Inc. employs nearly 50 artists and licensing administrators, who work with agents around the world managing Garfield's vast licensing, syndication, and entertainment empire.

Davis is a former president of the Fairmount, Indiana FFA chapter.[5]

Career

Prior to creating Garfield, Davis worked for an advertising agency, and in 1969, he began assisting Tom Ryan's comic strip, Tumbleweeds. He then created a comic strip, Gnorm Gnat, that ran for five years in The Pendleton Times, an Indiana newspaper. When Davis attempted to sell it to a national comic strip syndicate, an editor told him: "Your art is good, your gags are great, but bugs—nobody can relate to bugs!"[6]

On June 19, 1978, Garfield started syndication in 41 newspapers. Today it is syndicated in 2,580 newspapers and is read by approximately 300 million readers each day.[7]

In the 1980s, Davis created the barnyard slapstick comic strip U.S. Acres. Outside the U.S., the strip was known as Orson's Farm. Davis, along with Brett Koth, also made a 2000–03 strip based on the Mr. Potato Head toy.

Davis founded the Professor Garfield Foundation to support children's literacy.[8]

His influences include Mort Walker's Beetle Bailey and Hi and Lois, Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts, Milton Caniff's Steve Canyon and Johnny Hart's B.C.[9]

Awards

Year Award Presenting Organization& Sciences
1984–85 Emmy Award, Outstanding Animated Program, Garfield in the Rough, TV special, CBS
1985 Elzie Segar Award for Contributions to Cartooning National Cartoonist Society
1986 Outstanding Animated Program, Garfield's Halloween Adventure, TV special, CBS Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
1986 Best Strip National Cartoonist Society
1988–89 Emmy Award, Outstanding Animated Program, Garfield's Babes and Bullets, TV special, CBS Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
1988 Sagamore of the Wabash State of Indiana
1989 Reuben Award for Overall Excellence in Cartooning National Cartoonist Society
1989 Indiana Arbor Day Spokesman Award (Presented to Jim Davis and Garfield) Indiana Division of Natural Resources and Forestry
1990 Good Steward Award, (Presented to Jim Davis and Garfield) National Arbor Day Foundation
1991 Indiana Journalism Award (Presented to Jim Davis and Garfield) Ball State University Department of Journalism
1992 Distinguished Hoosier State of Indiana
1995 Project Award National Arbor Day Foundation
1997 LVA Leadership Award (Presented to Paws) Literacy Volunteers of America

References

Sources

  • Bruce McCabe, "The Man Who Put Garfield on Top", The Boston Globe, March 8, 1987.

External links

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