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Biography

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Overview (2)

Date of Birth 20 November 1900Pawnee, Oklahoma, USA
Date of Death 11 May 1985Woodstock, Illinois, USA

Mini Bio (1)

Chester Gould was interested in comics from an early age. He wrote and drew several strips while attending Oklahoma A&M University and at Northwestern University (where he graduated in 1921). After graduating from the Chicago Art Institute in 1923, Gould went to work for a Chicago area newspaper. Gould found work illustrating several minor comic strips, and also bombarded the major newspaper syndicates with ideas for a new strip.

It was sometime in 1931 that Gould got a idea, based on his own work as a newspaperman. Gould saw that the headlines were filled with stories about gangsters and their escapades. Gould was disgusted by the apparentm triumph of good over evil, and decided that his new character would fight against these hoods. He sent this strip, called "Plainclothes Tracy" to the Chicago Tribune. The editor at the Tribune loved the idea, but suggested that the strip needed a shorter name. And so, "Dick Tracy" premiered on October 4th, 1931.

From the beginning, Gould's strip stood out. Previous comic strips focused on either household comedies (like "Bringing Up Father") or boyhood adventures. Dick Tracy was one of the first strips to show the effects of violence on people; readers were shocked when a strip clearly showed Tracy shooting a villian in the face. The strip was a huge success, not only spawning a number of spin-offs, but entering the public consciousness as well. Tracy's chisled features became so familiar that it was easy for cartoonist Al Capp to parody him in "L'il Abner."

Like many of the great comics of the 30s and 40s, "Dick Tracy" slowly became a victim of the times. The art was still vibrant and creative, but Gould's two-dimensional, black/white characterization looked stodgy by the 1950s. In the 1960s, Gould made an ill-advised devision to update Tracy by outfitting him with space-age gadgets and a rocket ship(!).

Gould retired from the strip on December 25, 1977, turning it over to his long time assistant. "Dick Tracy" continues to run in newspapers around the world, long after its creator's death in 1985.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Mike Konczewski

Spouse (1)

Edna M. Gauger (6 November 1926 - 11 May 1985) (his death) (1 child)

Trade Mark (1)

Famous for depicting extremely violent adventures featuring grotesquely ugly villians in his comic strip.

Trivia (4)

Creator of comic strip "Dick Tracy."
Attended Northwestern University (Evanston, IL).
Brother of Lambda Chi Alpha, Inc. Fraternity
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume One, 1981-1985, pages 334-335. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998.

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