|Portrayed by||Lorenzo Music (1982-2000)
Bill Murray (2004-2006)
Frank Welker (2007-present)
Unknown stage actor (2010; stage adaptation)
|First appearance||Garfield comic strip
(June 19, 1978)
|Species||Orange Tabby cat|
He is a lazy, fat, selfish, anthropomorphic Orange tabby who enjoys eating (especially lasagna), sleeping, and tormenting his owner Jon and Odie the dog. He considers himself to be more intelligent than humans and other animals. He hates Mondays, and is often struck by bad luck in Monday comic strips. He enjoys performing at the wooden fence next to Jon's house in the middle of the night, although he is usually booed at and bombarded with various objects. He can't stand spiders, and although he doesn't chase mice (unless bribed to do so), he is often seen trying to eat birds. He frequently destroys Jon's curtains and ferns, as well as the flowerbeds of Jon and their neighbor, Mrs. Feeny. He detests being taken to the vet, and usually tries to hide from Jon when informed or if he has a "feeling". In one strip sequence in 1986, their home address is revealed that Garfield, Jon and Odie live in 711 Maple Street. However, in Garfield in Paradise, Garfield's fantasy dream had a cat named Mike say that he's from Wages, Nevada (this was a fantasy), and in the Garfield & Friends episode of the second season, Jon is running from a Chicago airport. In the TV special Garfield Gets a Life, Jon's car is revealed to have an Indiana vehicle registration plate at the end of the episode, indicating that they live in Indiana, presumably near Chicago.
In Garfield Goes Hollywood, while Jon, Mr. Bant, Odie and Garfield are on Pet Search, the announcer says that they're from Muncie, Indiana. This is possibly because Jim Davis is from Indiana, and Paws, Inc. is located in Muncie.
Although Garfield is typically depicted as having little imagination, in one Garfield and Friends episode he was shown to have a great imagination when he imagined himself, by use of a cardboard box, as being in a plane, racecar and life-raft floating on the open sea, in that order. In the life-raft, he pictured Odie as a savage killer whale. He was also depicted with an imagination in other episodes, including one episode inspired by monster movies where he eventually chases away Jon's date, and in the special Garfield's Feline Fantasies. He also once said in the episode The Hound of The Arbuckles that he prefers to use his imagination for dreams rather than reading books. Though he often treats Jon and Odie horribly, it is indicated that he does indeed care for them.
Garfield "speaks" through thought bubbles, and even though other animals can understand him, Jon generally cannot (although Jon is quite frequently shown having what looks like a conversation with Garfield's thoughts and has often guessed Garfield's thoughts verbatim, somewhat like the characters in Peanuts when talking to Snoopy; indeed, Garfield bears some similarities to the "The stupid cat next door"). At rare moments, Jon's reaction imply he's hearing Garfield's thoughts (or thinking), and he even declares that in one strip. Sometimes, after Jon states what he believes Garfield to be thinking (that he wants food), Garfield corrects him by stating that, for example, his car's on fire. However in "Garfield and Friends", Jon (and other humans) hear Garfield's thoughts much more frequently, even having conversations with them if Jon seems to be "listening". Certain episodes, such as a lecture about Odie, shows the human audience hearing everything Garfield thinks.
Jim Davis named Garfield after his grandfather, James Garfield Davis, who was named after President James A. Garfield. According to an interview with Jim Davis in the second Garfield compilation book, Garfield Gains Weight, the name "Garfield" makes him think of "...a fat cat...or a St. Bernard...or a neat line of thermal underwear." Due to the enormous popularity of the strip, many families have named their cats 'Garfield' after the famous cat.
Garfield was born June 19, 1978, in the kitchen of Mama Leone's Italian Restaurant and loved lasagna the day he was born. Ever since then, it has always been his favorite food. According to his grandfather, he was born five pounds, six ounces (He was out of town at the time, and when Garfield asks how, his grandfather said he heard the scream), surprisingly enough, he managed to fit in a tiny bed. Later in his life, Garfield runs across his Mother again one Christmas Eve, accidentally, and meets his other grandfather for the first time. When Jon came to the store, he had to choose between Garfield, an iguana, and a pet rock. In his cartoon appearances, Garfield usually causes mischief in every episode. In June 1983, comic strips introduced Amoeba Man, one of Garfield's alter-egos, yet he was only shown in 6 strips (6-20 through 6-25). Amoeba Man is only one of his few imaginary alter egos though, his most common one being the Caped Avenger. And for a very short period of time, Garfield would fall prey to various dogs e.g. Bungee Dog, Warm up dog etc which would squish him in any direction. It is also given that Garfield uses the "sandbox" on occasion, such as in one 1978 strip, he says he hates commercials because they're too short for a trip to the sandbox. It was revealed on October 27, 1979 that he doesn’t like raisins. His birthday is 1978-06-19, the day the first Garfield strip was published. Interestingly, on Garfield's 25th anniversary in 2003, several strips were featured with him interacting with the version of him from 1978. Garfield frequently gets into many adventures, such as getting stuck in roll-up shades, sparring with mice, and getting locked up in animal shelters. In 2005, Garfield and Jon appeared in several comic strips of Blondie in honor of their 75th anniversary. Garfield got excited because he didn't have to think. There was an earlier Blondie crossover on the Garfield strip published April 1, 1997.
Garfield was one of the cartoon characters featured in Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue, although he was the only character to be used without the permission of his creator.
According to the strips, Garfield first stood on just two feet on May 17, 1981. However, this contradicts some of the earlier strips. For example, he is shown tap dancing on Jon's head in the strip for May 6, 1979 He bounced on one foot because he tried to hit Odie with his bone but Garfield missed and hit his leg on August 19th, 1978. Also, in the strip for September 16, 1979, Garfield sleepwalks away on two feetand also tap-danced for Jon because he said Odie would on March 24th, 1979. He also walked after beingg beat up by a dog on May 10, 1981
A long running gag is that Garfield is a ravenous and gluttonous eater. He is almost always shown eating a foodstuff high in fat. Among the spaghetti, pizza, cookies (particularly those from Jon's mother) hamburgers, whole chickens, popcorn, pie, pork chops, doughnuts, ice cream, Chinese food, steaks, and sweets he consumes, his favorite food has been stated consistently as lasagna and he may commonly be seen in his trademark eating position with his head arched back, mouth wide open, shoveling food down his throat with a big smile on his face. He is forever desperate to steal Jon's food, and will go to any extent to obtain it. In one strip, he snatched a cylindrical shape off a plate Jon was carrying, ate it, and remarked, "I hope that was food". Although eating is a hobby for him, Garfield is very picky. He is known to detest cat food (only on occasion, as he can be seen eating cat food frequently), raisins, snails, fruitcake, grapefruit and vegetables, especially during his occasional diets, although he is often shown eating vegetables as part of his occasional large feasts. These diets are followed by hallucinations of some of his favorite foods following him around, asking to be ingested.
Subsequently, another running gag revolves around Jon's attempts at putting Garfield on a diet. In retaliation, Garfield will often seek methods to either sneak away food behind Jon's back, or physically harm Jon. Another common gag is the talking scale. During each of his diets, Garfield would weigh himself, saying something to the scale first. Upon stepping off, the scale would respond by making a derogatory remark about his weight, such as "I was made for people and pets, not cargo ships" or "Get off, I can't breathe!"
Garfield has a knack for mischievous habits. Besides tormenting Jon with his sarcastic remarks or kicking Odie off a table, Garfield's favorite victim is the mailman, often ripping the mailman's pants to shreds, or at times dragging the mailman around. Jon often gets calls from neighbors about his cat eating their flowerbeds or trying to eat their pet birds.
His hatred towards spiders always results with them being whacked with a rolled newspaper or stomped by his foot. He occasionally does the same to other insects such as flies (in some strips, he is shown to hate flies more than spiders).
He likes to eat ferns and other types of flowers. Some strips feature common flowers talking to each other, only to be eaten by Garfield in the end.
When outside, Garfield enjoys teasing other dogs; they are usually chained up or smaller in size than Garfield. However, he occasionally faces the misfortune of the chain/rope not being securely tied (resulting in Garfield being chased and/or injured by the dog), or the dogs are not as small/weak as they seem.
Next to Odie, Jon is his favorite person to prank. When Jon is asleep, Garfield often goes to extreme measures to wake him up - whether it be hopping on his stomach, waking him with a goblin's mask on his face, throwing his bed out of the window with him in it, frightening Jon, or even attempting to throttle him (as he does in some early strips), Garfield always seems to have the upper hand on Jon's sleeping habits.
On January 8, 2009, he was elected into the bad habit hall of fame. Afterwards he crumpled up the certificate and tossed it behind him.
Garfield's birthday is said to be June 19, 1978, the day the strip started, and his birthdays are acknowledged yearly on that date. Even in his first appearance, though, he was already a very fat adult cat. His age is the noted as the same as the strip, even though at this point it is far older than the average or even longest noted life span of a cat.
Over the course of the strip, Garfield has shared information on members of his family: