Matt Groening

On this date in 1954, Matt Groening was born in Portland, Ore., to Homer Groening, an advertising agent and amateur cartoonist, and Margaret Wiggum. Groening was one of four children. Best known as the creator and executive producer of the TV program, "The Simpsons," Groening's career started when he moved to Los Angeles after graduating from Evergreen State College, and began selling Xeroxed copies of his comic strip, "Life in Hell," an irreverent look at a broken life. This original strip was subsequently syndicated, became successful and eventually caught the attention of James L. Brooks in 1987, the executive producer of the "Tracey Ullman Show." Looking for a "filler" in the show, Brooks asked Groening to create animated TV "shorts," which became "The Simpsons," the longest-running animated series in TV history. Although Groening later created another animated TV show, the fantasy-based "Futurama," it was not as popular nor as long-lived as "The Simpsons." In 1993, Groening formed and became publisher of the "Bongo Comic Group," overseeing the "Simpsons Comics," "Itchy & Scratchy Comics," "Bartman," "Radioactive Man," "Lisa Comics" and "Krusty Comics." In an Mini Biography by Kevin Newcombe, Groening is quoted as saying: "Cartooning is for people who can't quite draw and can't quite write. You combine the two half-talents and come up with a career." Groening lives in Los Angeles with his two children, Homer and Abe.

"Technically, I'm an agnostic, but I definitely believe in hell especially after watching the fall TV schedule."

—The New York Times, Dec. 17, 1998

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor ; Photo by s_bukley /

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