Garfield, America’s favorite fat, lazy, lasagna loving, cynical cat was born June 19, 1978. His owner and creator is cartoonist, author, producer, director, screenwriter, playwright, environmentalist and philanthropist Jim Davis.
Davis says Garfield is a composite of all the cats he remembered from his childhood, rolled into one feisty orange fur ball. Garfield was named after his grandfather, James Garfield Davis.
Garfield first appeared in June 19, 1978 The strip debuted on June 19, 1978 in 41 U.S. newspapers. Several months after the launch, the Chicago Sun-Times cancelled GARFIELD. Over 1300 angry readers demanded that GARFIELD be reinstated. It was, and the rest, as they say, is history. Today, GARFIELD is read in over 2100 newspapers by 200 million people. Guinness World Records™, named GARFIELD “The Most Widely Syndicated Comic Strip in the World.” Davis’s peers at the National Cartoonist Society honored him with Best Humor Strip (1981 and 1985), the Elzie Segar Award (1990), and the coveted Reuben Award (1990), the top award presented to a cartoonist by NCS members.
Davis’s philanthropy has been directed at educational and environmental projects. He founded The Professor Garfield Foundation in cooperation with Ball State University, to support children’s literacy. A free educational web site http://www.professorgarfield.org is the cornerstone of the Foundation’s work to date. Davis spearheaded reforestation, prairie and wetlands restorations, and built the world’s first all natural wastewater plant for commercial use. He was awarded the National Arbor Day Foundation’s Good Steward and Special Projects Award, and the Indiana Wildlife Federations’ Conservationist of the Year Award.
The Artist’s Life
Davis spends his leisure time golfing, gardening, fishing, and enjoying his wife, children, and grandchildren. In a nod to Garfield’s friends in the comic strip, Davis also keeps one cat, Nermal, and a dog, Pooky.
Happy Birthday, Garfield!