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Jim Davis
Born James Robert Davis
July 28, 1945 (1945-07-28) (age 64)
Marion, Indiana, U.S.
Occupation Cartoonist
Known for Garfield comic strip
Parents James William Davis (father)
Betty (mother)

James Robert "Jim" Davis (born July 28, 1945) is a U.S. cartoonist who created the comic strip Garfield. Other comics that he has worked on include Tumbleweeds, Gnorm Gnat, U.S. Acres A.K.A. Orson's Farm, and a strip about Mr. Potato Head. He has written Emmy-award winning TV specials and was also one of the producers behind the Garfield & Friends TV show which aired on CBS from 1988 to 1995. He is the writer and coproducer of a trilogy of C.G.-direct-to-video feature films about Garfield; the first one, Garfield Gets Real, was released in 2007.


Personal life

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

Ironically, considering his fame as a cartoonist who draws a cat, his first wife Carolyn (Altekruse) was allergic to cats[2] although 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. They have three children: James, Ashley, and Christopher.[3]

Davis as of 2007 resides in Albany, Indiana, where he and his staff produce Garfield under his company, Paws, Inc., begun in 1981. Paws, Inc. employs nearly fifty 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 Future Farmers of America chapter.[5]


Prior to creating Garfield, Davis worked for a local advertising agency and in 1969 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. Davis tried to sell it to a national comic strip syndicate, but an editor told him, "Your art is good, your gags are great, but bugs — nobody can relate to bugs!"

On June 19, 1978, Garfield started syndication in forty-one news-papers. Things were going well until the Chicago Sun-Times cancelled the strip, prompting an outcry from 1300 readers. Garfield was reinstated and the strip quickly became the fastest selling comic strip in the world. Today it is syndicated in 2400 news-papers and is read by approximately 200,000,000 readers each day.

In the 1988-1994 cartoon series Garfield and Friends, one episode ("Mystic Manor") has a scene where Garfield slid down a fireman's pole in a haunted house, and Davis has a brief cameo as himself drawing a cartoon.

In the 1980s, Davis also made the barn-yard slap-stick comic strip U.S. Acres, featuring Orson the Pig. Without the U.S., the strip was known as Orson's Farm. Davis also made a 2000-2003 strip based on the toy Mr. Potato Head with Brett Koth.

In 2005, Davis appeared in the music video "Lazy Muncie", a parody of the Saturday Night Live video "Lazy Sunday".

Most recently, Jim Davis founded The Professor Garfield Foundation, to support children’s literacy.


Year Award Presenting Organization
1982 Best Humor Strip Cartoonist National Cartoonist Society
1983-84 Emmy Award, Outstanding Animated Program, Garfield on the Town TV special, CBS Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
1984-85 Emmy Award, Outstanding Animated Program, Garfield in the Rough TV special, CBS Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
1985 Elzie Segar Award for Outstanding Contributions to Cartooning National Cartoonist Society
1985-86 Emmy Award, Outstanding Animated Program, Garfield's Halloween Adventure TV special, CBS Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
1986 Best Humor Strip Cartoonist 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 Award State of Indiana
1995 Project Award National Arbor Day Foundation
1997 LVA Leadership Award (Presented to Paws) Literacy Volunteers of America


  1. ^ De Weyer, Geert (2008) (in Dutch). 100 stripklassiekers die niet in je boekenkast mogen ontbreken. Amsterdam / Antwerp: Atlas. p. 214. ISBN 9789045009964.  
  2. ^ a b "Those Catty Cartoonists," Time magazine, Dec. 07, 1981; available online at Time magazine website.
  3. ^ a b Jim Davis at
  4. ^ NNDB profile, accessed March 15, 2008
  5. ^ "National FFA Organization Prominent Members", National F.F.A. Organization (PDF)
  • Kim Campbell, Director of Public Relations, Paws, Inc.
  • Bruce McCabe, "The Man Who Put Garfield On Top", The Boston Globe, March 8, 1987.

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