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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 28 September 1909New Haven, Connecticut, USA
Date of Death 5 November 1979Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA  (emphysema)
Birth NameAlfred Gerald Caplin

Mini Bio (1)

Al Capp was born on September 28, 1909 in New Haven, Connecticut, USA as Alfred Gerald Caplin. He was a writer and actor, known for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962), Li'l Abner (1940) and Li'l Abner (1959). He was married to Catherine Wingate Cameron. He died on November 5, 1979 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

Spouse (1)

Catherine Wingate Cameron (1932 - 5 November 1979) (his death) (3 children)

Trivia (12)

Creator of comic strip "Li'l Abner."
His premise for his character "Jack Jawbreaker" (a parody of "Superman") made note of writers and cartoonists working on strips they did not own the rights to. Capp would later hire assistants to work on his strip, with Capp himself writing it, roughing out the action within the panels, and drawing and inking the faces and hands of the characters. His name would be the only one appearing on the strip - although Capp regularly credited his assistants in magazine articles and publicity pieces, one of the only cartoonists ever to do so.
His parody of "Dick Tracy" as "Fearless Fosdick" was unique in comic strips. It was a comic strip that didn't actually exist, being read by the cast of an actual comic strip. Even so, the character was used to promote Wildroot Cream-Oil hair tonic.
He parodied the comic strip "Mary Worth" as "Mary Worm". Allen Saunders, the creator OF Mary Worth, returned fire with the introduction of the character "Hal Rapp," an ill-mannered, inebriated cartoonist. Later the "feud" was revealed to be a collaborative hoax that Capp and his longtime pal Saunders had cooked up together as a good-natured publicity stunt.
Was unsuccessfully sued for libel by musician and political activist Joan Baez, after portraying her in his strip as "Joanie Phoanie". The judge in the case decided in Capp's favor, declaring satire to be protected free speech (in recent years, Baez has admitted to being more amused by the parody, even including strip excerpts in her memoirs).
Had a prosthetic leg, the result of a boyhood accident. Rather than hide the fact, he openly joked about it all of his life.
Was fond of outrageous puns in dreaming up character names for his strip. To give just three examples, J. Roaringham Fatback was a despotic pork tycoon, Sen. Jack S. Phogbound ("Ain't no Jack S. like OUR Jack S.!") was an inept U.S. Senator, and King Nogoodnik was the ruler of Lower Slobbovia.
Became disenchanted with the direction he believed the political left to be moving in America during the 1960s and early 1970s, and "Li'l Abner" began to reflect this. Capp's once sharp-edged liberal view began to sound more and more like conservatism. Through all this, he maintained that it was the left that had moved, not he. Nevertheless, during the period 1968-78, "Li'l Abner," once one of the most popular comic strips in America, lost nearly half its markets and Capp finally had to face the fact that times had changed in politics and popular entertainment. He retired Abner, Daisy Mae and the other denizens of Dogpatch in 1977. He died of emphysema two years later.
One of the uncredited artists who worked on his strip "Li'l Abner" was Frank Frazetta, who would later become internationally known as a fantasy artist.
Considered a run against Senator Ted Kennedy.
In addition to LI'L ABNER, he created the comic strip ABBIE AN SLATTS; which he wrote in collaboration with illustrator Raeburn Van Buren.
Mr. Capp created his comic strip within a comic strip of FEARLESS FOSDICK in LI'L ABNER; which was Abner's hero. The recurring "strip" proved to be so popular that it was adapted into a 13 episode TV Series using puppets in 1952 and was also employed in advertising Wildroot Cream Oil (hair tonic),. The Fosdick character was a parody of Chester Gould's DICK TRACY.

Personal Quotes (2)

As far as unwed mothers on welfare are concerned, it seems to me they must be capable of some other form of labor.
[on hippies] I have no objection to any herd of semi-domesticated animals roaming the country, uttering their mating cries and scratching their pelts, as long as they avoid centers of civilization and congregate only in university auditoriums.

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