James Robert "Jim" Davis is an American cartoonist who created the popular comic strip Garfield. Other comics that he has worked on are Tumbleweeds, Gnorm Gnat, Slapstick, and a strip about Mr. Potato Head. He also has created a Garfield T.V. show that aired on CBS for six years.
Jim Davis was born in Fairmount, Indiana, near Marion, where he grew up on a small farm with his father James William Davis, mother Anna Catherine (Carter) Davis, brother Dave, and 25 cats. Davis' childhood on a farm parallels the life of his cartoon character Garfield's owner, Jon Arbuckle, who was also raised on a farm with his parents and a brother, Doc Boy. Jon, too, is a cartoonist, and also celebrates his birthday on July 28. Davis attended Ball State University. While attending Ball State, he became a member of the Theta Xi fraternity. He earned the dubious honor of earning one of the lowest cumulative grade point averages in the history of the university, an honor incidentally shared with Late Show host David Letterman.
Davis as of 2007 resides in Muncie, Indiana, where he and his staff produce Garfield under his company, Paws, Inc., begun in 1981. He was married to Carolyn, a singer and elementary teacher whom he met while both were attending college, and has a son named James with her. However, the couple divorced, and Davis since 2000 has been married to Jill, Paws' senior vice president of licensing, who has worked there approximately 25 years.
Ironically, Davis did not own cats when he started Garfield because of Carolyn's allergies, but they owned a Labrador retriever named Molly. With Jill, the family has expanded to include children Ashley and Chris; three grandchildren, Chloe, Carly and Cody; cats, Spunky and Nermal; and a dog, Pooky.