Birthplace: Bronx, NY
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Cartoonist, Playwright
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Can't draw but writes like a master
Military service: US Army Signal Corps (1951-53)
Jules Feiffer's cartoons ran in Playboy and The Village Voice for decades. Feiffer's work appeared often in The New Yorker, Esquire, and The Nation, and was nationally syndicated. In 1986, Feiffer won a Pulitzer Prize for political cartoons, and from 1997-2000 he drew monthly op-ed comics in The New York Times.
As a young man, Feiffer studied with the Art Students League and attended the Pratt Institute from 1947-51. He worked as an assistant to Will Eisner, creator of "The Spirit", a popular comic strip about a "middle class crimefighter". In 1949, Feiffer created his own comic strip, "Clifford", and later he briefly worked for Terrytoons.
He was drafted into the U.S. Signal Corps during the Korean War, and worked on animated shorts for the military until 1953. He returned to civilian life with a profound distaste for bureaucracy and authority, and his cartooning quickly developed serious political bite. Feiffer wrote Passionella and Other Stories, which introduced Munro, a four-year-old boy who is mistakenly drafted into the Army.
In 1960, Munro was made into a viciously funny anti-war cartoon. Several biographies report that Feiffer won an Oscar for Munro, but that's not quite correct. Feiffer deserved an Oscar, and Munro did win the award for best animated short, but the statue went to Bill Snyder, the film's producer, and it has his name engraved on it. Snyder had provided some of the film's funding, but his only creative contribution was arguing (unsuccessfully) to have this line of Feiffer's dialogue cut: "I want to welcome you men to the Army. This is a time of great struggle. I will explain the issues: Our side is in favor of God. The other side isn't. Any questions?"
Feiffer's first book-length collection of comic strips was published in 1958, titled Sick, Sick, Sick. Other collections include Boy, Girl, Boy, Girl, Feiffer on Civil Rights, and Feiffer on Nixon: The Cartoon Presidency.
He wrote several children's books, including The Man in the Ceiling, Meanwhile, and A Barrel of Laughs, A Vale of Tears. He wrote the novel Harry, the Rat with Women and the graphic novel Tantrum. Feiffer's plays include Knock Knock, Little Murders, and White House Murder Case (the latter two won Obies, the award for outstanding off-Broadway plays). Feiffer's screenplays include Carnal Knowledge and Robin Williams's Popeye.
Feiffer's comics are usually bleak, cynical, and funny. He retired around the turn of the millennium, but admirers still refer to him as "the dean of American intellectual cartoonists". His work was widely considered the epitome of sophisticated humor, while still being accessible and often hilarious to those of us with no sophistication at all.
Father: David Feiffer
Mother: Rhoda Davis
Wife: Judith Sheftel (Playboy executive, m. 17-Sep-1961, div. 1983, one daughter)
Daughter: Kate (b. circa 1964)
Wife: Jennifer Allen ("Jenny", freelance writer, stand-up comic, m. 11-Sep-1983, two daughters)
Daughter: Halley (b. circa 1984)
Daughter: Julie (b. circa 1995)
University: Art Students League of New York
University: Pratt Institute (1947-51)
Innocence Project Artists' Committee
Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning 1986
Polk Award Special Award 1961
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