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Biography

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Overview (1)

Date of Birth 26 January 1929New York City, New York, USA

Mini Bio (1)

Jules Feiffer, the Pulitzer-Prize and Oscar-winning cartoonist, playwright and screenwriter, was born on 1929 in the New York City borough The Bronx. During the 1940s, the young Jules apprenticed with comic strip artist Will Eisner on his "The Spirit" strip at the Quality Comics Group. The strip had floundered during the war, after Eisner had been drafted in 1942, but upon his return, Eisner -- with the aid of assistants such as Feiffer -- reinvigorated the strip. Under Eisner, Feiffer learned how to tell a story in illustrations and words. Feiffer is most famous for his cartoons for The Village Voice, which was opened for business in a Greenwich Village in October 1955 by Dan Wolf, Ed Fancher and Norman Mailer. Feiffer's cartoons, which ran in The Voice for 42 years, were syndicated to a wide variety of Sunday papers. He also has the distinction of being the first opinion-editorial page cartoonist employed by The New York Times, a post he held from 1997 through the year 2000.

In addition to his cartoons, Feiffer wrote the 1967 play Little Murders (1971), which was turned into a film in 1971 despite being a flop on Broadway, lasting but one week of seven performances with a cast that included Heywood Hale Broun and Elliott Gould. Feiffer wrote the screenplay for the film, which was directed by Alan Arkin; despite having Gould, then at the height of his fame during the student social upheavals that were cresting and would soon abate, the film was not a success at the box office.

However, Feiffer did taste great cinema success that same year with his screenplay for Mike Nichols, masterpiece Carnal Knowledge (1971), an acerbic look at the sexual mores of men who came to maturity just after World War II. Feifer's first foray with motion pictures was the animated short film 'Munro (1961) (I)', which won the 1961 Academy Award for Best Short Subject, Cartoons.

Feiffer has published over 20 books, including the children's classic The Phantom Tollbooth (1970), which he illustrated and which was made into a movie in 1970.

Feiffer's cartoons for the Voice have been collected in 19 volumes; he also has written the acclaimed children's books "The Man in the Ceiling" and "A Barrel of Laughs, A Vale of Tears".

After teaching at the Yale School of Drama and Northwestern University and serving as a Senior Fellow at Columbia University's National Arts Journalism Program, Feiffer took a post at Southampton College (the graduate school of Long Island University). Among his many honors are membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1995), the National Cartoonist Society Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award (2004), and being named the Creativity Foundation's 2006 Laureate.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood

Spouse (2)

Jennifer Allen (11 September 1983 - present) (2 children)
Judith Sheftel (17 September 1961 - 1983) (divorced) (1 child)

Trivia (3)

Last syndicated cartoon strip, after 43 years as a weekly. [June 2000]
Was nominated for Broadway's 1976 Tony Award as author of Best Play nominee "Knock Knock."
Father of Halley Feiffer.

Personal Quotes (4)

During the middle 60s, when I wrote 'Little Murders' I was in a mood of black despair about the country and where we were going. I thought the Vietnam War was going to go on for the rest of my life and my daughter's. The left was crumbling and what part of it wasn't was a pain in the rear. I felt terribly old and very bitter about the future of this country and my future in it.
Back then I almost always began a play as an essay. I had in mind what I wanted to say, then created the characters and the situations to say it. I tried to make those characters as real as possible within their bizarre situations. In 'Knock, Knock', for the first time, I was tired of doing thesis plays. I simply wanted to have a good time. I was worn out by evangelizing. I must have made the assumption that there was no point in exposing further. Everybody knew everything already, everyone knew how bad it was, you couldn't disturb or shock or create new discontent because there there was so much old discontent that still hadn't been absorbed. The point now is to start working out ways of living a life within all this.
There's such a snobbery about cartoons. Once the plays were out, the assumption was that I would drop the cartoon. The more I write plays, the more important the cartoon becomes.The plays,in a way, are a form of self indulgence. If you ask which is more socially useful on a broad-based level, then it's probably the cartoon.
[on Robert Evans and "Popeye", 1980]: From my experience with him, he takes risks. He's highly supportive of the people he works with, very loyal and very moving in that way. I just find the kind of support he's given me, earlier when Dustin [Hoffman] wanted me off the picture, and then with Altman, rare and impressive, to say the least.

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