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Jim Davis

Jim DavisJim Davis was born near Marion on July 14, 1945. He grew up on a farm with cows and many cats. He enjoyed drawing and spent hours creating pictures when he was young.

Jim attended Ball State University in Muncie where he majored in art and business. After college, he became an assistant for Tom Ryan, the creator of the Tumbleweeds cartoon. Davis learned valuable skills, like how to produce a comic strip, and used this knowledge to make his own strip, Gnorm Gnat. Gnorm was a bug who did funny things, but the newspapers did not think a bug was a good main character. Jim then decided to take another approach.

He noticed there were a lot of comic strips about dogs but none about cats. Jim created a new character – a fat, lasagna-loving cat named Garfield. On June 19, 1978, the comic strip first appeared in 41 newspapers in U.S. cities like Boston, Chicago and Dallas. Today, more than 2,600 newspapers print Garfield worldwide.

Garfield has been become more than just a comic strip. There are Garfield movies, a television show and lots of merchandise, like T-shirts, books and posters. With this success, Jim Davis has won many awards and is founder and president of Paws Inc., a studio that manages Garfield worldwide.


“The Man Behind the Cat” in The Garfield Press Room Site.

Price, Nelson. Indiana Legends: Famous Hoosiers from Johnny Appleseed to David Letterman. Carmel, Indiana: Guild Press of Indiana, 1997.

Additional Resources

“The Garfield Press Room” includes a more extensive biography of Jim Davis and Garfield.

“The Official Website of Garfield and Friends” lets you read Garfield comics, learn about the characters and play Garfield-themed games.