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Also Known As: Matthew Abram Groening Died:
Born: February 15, 1954 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Portland, Oregon, USA Profession: cartoonist, producer, animator, screenwriter, chauffeur

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

As the creator of the long-running animated TV series "The Simpsons" (Fox, 1989- ), as well as the equally venerable weekly comic strip "Life in Hell," cartoonist Matt Groening watched his creations spawn numerous print and merchandise incarnations that helped make him a influential figure in world pop culture.Born on Feb. 15, 1954, Groening moved from his hometown of Portland, OR to Los Angeles in 1977 with the intent of becoming a writer. It was in LA that he began "Life in Hell" as a hand-copied strip that was distributed via the record store at which he worked. The strip gained notoriety among comic and underground press aficionados, and received its largest exposure in the weekly independent newspaper The Los Angeles Reader. The Reader also granted Groening a music column, which he devoted to personal issues and fabricated write-ups of fictitious bands and albums. In 1984, Groening and his wife Deborah Caplan published his first "Life in Hell" book, called Love in Hell, and eventually set up a distribution company, Life in Hell Co., which handled the syndication and merchandise for all of Groening's projects.The following year, he was contacted by writer/producer/director James L. Brooks to...

As the creator of the long-running animated TV series "The Simpsons" (Fox, 1989- ), as well as the equally venerable weekly comic strip "Life in Hell," cartoonist Matt Groening watched his creations spawn numerous print and merchandise incarnations that helped make him a influential figure in world pop culture.

Born on Feb. 15, 1954, Groening moved from his hometown of Portland, OR to Los Angeles in 1977 with the intent of becoming a writer. It was in LA that he began "Life in Hell" as a hand-copied strip that was distributed via the record store at which he worked. The strip gained notoriety among comic and underground press aficionados, and received its largest exposure in the weekly independent newspaper The Los Angeles Reader. The Reader also granted Groening a music column, which he devoted to personal issues and fabricated write-ups of fictitious bands and albums. In 1984, Groening and his wife Deborah Caplan published his first "Life in Hell" book, called Love in Hell, and eventually set up a distribution company, Life in Hell Co., which handled the syndication and merchandise for all of Groening's projects.

The following year, he was contacted by writer/producer/director James L. Brooks to create animation for an upcoming project. Brooks' original idea was to use the angst-ridden "Life in Hell" characters, but Groening created a whole new set in order to avoid jeopardizing his comic strip. The new characters - a nuclear family based on his own parents and siblings, which utilized several of their real names - were dubbed the Simpsons.

"The Simpsons" debuted on "The Tracey Ullman Show" (Fox, 1987-90) in 15-minute skits, and immediately took off with audiences. A half-hour spin off show followed in 1989, before a "Simpsons" series was launched that same year. Groening himself confessed that he was surprised by the show's massive popularity, which continued throughout the 1990s and into the next century. In the mid-'90s, Groening attempted to create several spin-off projects, including several live-action features and series based on "Simpsons"-related characters, but none came to fruition.

Meanwhile, Groening expanded further into publishing by creating Bongo Comics Group in 1993; the company published the many "Simpsons" comic books, while a second company, Zongo Comics, released more mature titles by artists such as Mary Fleener and Gary Panter.

In 1999, Groening and "Simpsons" writer David X. Cohen created "Futurama" (Fox, 1999-2003), an animated science-fiction/comedy series which earned a small but loyal audience during its four years on the network. Following its cancellation, the series did remarkably well in syndication on The Cartoon Network and on DVD, helping to spawn a series of direct-to-DVD movies that continued the series' storylines.

In 2006, Groening announced he would serve as a writer and producer on the long-awaited theatrical "Simpsons" movie. He also found time to perform as a member of the Rock and Roll Remainders, a rock band that featured several popular writers (including Stephen King, Amy Tan, and Scott Turow) among its rotating members.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:


CAST: (feature film)

3.
 Hair High (2004) Voice Of Wil
4.
 Comic Book: The Movie (2004) Himself
5.
 Olive the Other Reindeer (1999) Voice Of Arturo
6.
8.
 Beatles Revolution, The (2000) Interviewee
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Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Olympia, WA
1977:
Moved to Los Angeles
1977:
First publication of the cartoon strip "Life in Hell"
1984:
First book published, <i>Love is Hell</i>; content taken from the weekly "Life in Hell" comic strip
:
With wife Deborah Caplan formed Life in Hell Co., which handled syndication and merchandise for Groening's projects
1986:
Made TV debut as an animator and writer with segments of "The Simpsons" for "The Tracey Ullman Show" (Fox)
1989:
Feature debut as a screenwriter, "The Simpsons" (Fox); made up of five shorts from "The Tracey Ullman Show"
1989:
Created and executive produced the animated series "The Simpsons" (Fox)
1989:
Made TV debut as an executive producer and creator with the first full length Simpsons special "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire," which aired as "The Simpsons Christmas Special" during first season of "The Simpsons"
1993:
Formed comic-book company Bongo Comics Group
1993:
Launched four "Simpsons" related comic books: <i>Simpson's Comics</i>, <i>Bartman</i>, <i>Itchy & Scratchy Comics</i>, and <i>Radioactive Man</i>
1998:
Created and executive produced the animated series "Futurama" (Fox)
1999:
Executive produced and had a speaking role in the animated holiday special "Olive, the Other Reindeer" (Fox)
2004:
Made his first speaking appearance on an episode of "The Simpsons" at a comic book convention
2006:
Fox signed on for another two seasons of "The Simpsons," which made it the longest running cartoon in TV history
2007:
Executive produced "The Simpsons Movie," a feature adaption of long-running animated series
2010:
Made first speaking appearance as himself on an episode of "Futurama"
2012:
Celebrated 500th episode of "The Simpsons" (Feb. 19)
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Education

Evergreen State College: Olympia , Washington - 1977

Notes

"I think having a staff of people who aren't shaving yet is going to work in our favor--they're more in touch with Bart's inner child" --Groening on his writing staff for "The Simpsons", from LOS ANGELES TIMES, September 30, 1993

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Deborah Caplin. Married c. 1986; mother of Abe and Homer Groening; filed for divorce in March 1999.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Homer Groening. Former cartoonist. Cartoon character Homer Simpson named after him; died March 15, 1996 of cancer.
mother:
Margaret Groening. Cartoon character Marge Simpson named after her.
sister:
Lisa Groening. Cartoon character Lisa Simpson named after her.
sister:
Maggie Groening. Cartoon character Maggie Simpson named after her.
son:
Homer Groening. Born March 23, 1989; mother, Deborah Caplan.
son:
Abraham Groening. Born c. 1992; mother, Deborah Caplan.
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Bibliography close complete biography

"Love is Hell"
"Work is Hell"
"School is Hell"
"The Big Book of Hell"
"Akbar & Jeff's Guide to Life"
"The Simpsons Xmas Book"
"Greetings from the Simpsons"
"The Simpson's Uncensored Family Album"
"Simpson Illustrated"
"Simpsons Comics" Bongo Comics Group
"Bartman" Bongo Comics Group
"Itchy & Scratchy Comics" Bongo Comics Group
"Radioactive Man" Bongo Comics Group
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