American cartoonist Jim Davis (born July 28, 1945) is the creator of the popular comic strip Garfield, which he created in 1978 and is now one of the most popular cartoon characters in the world.
Davis was born in Marion, Indiana, where he grew up on a small farm with his father Jim Sr., his mother Betty, his brother Dave, and 25 cats. His love of cartooning emerged during the time he would normally be doing chores, but couldn't due to asthma.
As an Art and Business major at Ball State University, he distinguished himself by earning one of the lowest accumulative grade point averages in the history of the school.
Prior to creating Garfield, Davis worked for a local advertising agency and later was an assistant on 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 was told, "It's funny. But bugs? Who can relate to a bug?" Five years after starting Gnorm Gnat, Davis drew a giant foot that fell out of the sky, crushing Gnorm and ending the comic strip.
On June 19, 1978, Garfield started syndication in 41 newspapers. Today, it is the most syndicated Sunday cartoon in the world.
Garfield's name comes from Davis' grandfather, James Garfield Davis.
He now resides in Muncie, Indiana where he and his staff continue to produce Garfield under his own company, Paws, Inc., which started in 1981. He is married to Carolyn, gifted singer and elementary teacher whom he met while both were attending college, and has a son named James.
Ironically, Davis did not have cats when he started Garfield and still does not today, as his wife is allergic to them. He does, however, have a dog named Molly.