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In this 1952 photograph, George McManus was costumed as his own character, with top hat, wing collar, blue tie and red vest exactly as worn by Jiggs.
Card by George McManus featuring his Bringing Up Father characters

George McManus (January 23, 1884 – October 22, 1954) is an American cartoonist best known as the creator of Irish immigrant Jiggs and his wife Maggie, the central characters in his syndicated comic strip, Bringing Up Father.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri of Irish parents, McManus had an innate gift for drawing and a sense of humor. He recalled an incident when he was in high school: "My teacher sent home to my parents a picture I had drawn of a classmate named Sweeney. 'This is what your boy has been doing,' the teacher wrote, icily. I laid the note in Pop's lap and headed wearily for the woodshed. But Pop, instead, put on his hat and coat and went to the editor of The Republican. He showed Sweeney to the editor. Next day I had a job on The Republican at $5 a week--as an errand boy."[1]

At The Republican, he created his first comic strip, Alma and Oliver. In 1904, after winning $3000, he headed for New York City and a job with the prestigious New York World, where he worked on several short-lived strips, including Snoozer, The Merry Marcelene, Ready Money Ladies, Cheerful Charlie' and 'Nibsby the Newsboy in Funny Fairyland, Panhandle Pete and Let George Do It.[2][3]

Comic strip evolution

In 1904, when McManus created the first American family strip, The Newlyweds, about an elegant young couple and their baby Snookums, the popularity of the strip prompted The New York American to invite McManus to join their paper, which he did from 1912 on. Renaming The Newlyweds as Their Only Child, he continued that strip and launched other daily strips: Rosie's Beau, Love Affairs of a Mutton Head, Spareribs and Gravy and Bringing Up Father.[3]

Syndicated internationally by King Features Syndicate, Bringing Up Father achieved great success and was produced by McManus from 1913 until his death, when Vernon Greene and Frank Fletcher took over. In 1995, the strip was one of 20 included in the "Comic Strip Classics" series of commemorative United States postage stamps.

McManus died in 1954 in Santa Monica, California and was interred in the Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York.

Jiggs serves as insignia of the U.S. Air Force's 11th Bomb Squadron, with whom McManus served during World War I.


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