Birthplace: New York City, New York, U.S.
Garretson Beekman "Garry" Trudeau (born July 21, 1948) is an American cartoonist, best known for the Doonesbury comic strip. Trudeau is also the creator and executive producer of the Amazon Studios political comedy series Alpha House.Trudeau was born in New York City, the son of Jean Douglas (née Moore) and Francis Berger Trudeau Jr. He is the great-grandson of Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau, who created Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium for the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis at Saranac Lake, New York. Edward was succeeded by his son Francis and grandson Francis Jr. The latter founded the Trudeau Institute at Saranac Lake, with which his son Garry retains a connection.
Among his great-great-great-grandfathers were Bishop Richard Channing Moore (through his father) and the New York politician Francis E. Spinner (through his mother). Trudeau is also a descendant of Étienne Truteau (1641-1712), first French ancestor of the Trudeaus in America. He has in his ascendant lineage James de Berty Trudeau and Gerardus Beekman, one of the earliest colonial governors of the Province of New York.
His ancestry is French Canadian, English, Dutch, German, and Swedish.
Raised in Saranac Lake, Trudeau attended the prestigious and elite St. Paul's School, Concord, New Hampshire. He enrolled in Yale University in 1966. As an art major, Trudeau initially focused on painting, but soon discovered a greater interest in the graphic arts. He spent much of his time cartooning and writing for Yale's humor magazine The Yale Record, eventually serving as the magazine's editor-in-chief. At the same time, Trudeau began contributing to the Yale Daily News, which eventually led to the creation of Bull Tales, a comic strip parodying the exploits of Yale quarterback Brian Dowling. This strip was the progenitor of Doonesbury.
While still an undergraduate at Yale, Trudeau published two collections of Bull Tales: Bull Tales (1969, published by the Yale Daily News) and Michael J. (1970, published by The Yale Record).
As a senior, Trudeau became a member of Scroll and Key. He did postgraduate work at the Yale School of Art, earning a master of fine arts degree in graphic design in 1973. It was there that Trudeau first met photographer David Levinthal, with whom he would later collaborate on Hitler Moves East, an influential "graphic chronicle" of the German invasion of the Soviet Union.
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Soon after Bull Tales began running in the Yale student newspaper, the strip caught the attention of the newly formed Universal Press Syndicate. The syndicate's editor, James F. Andrews, recruited Trudeau, changed the strip's name to Doonesbury, and began distributing it following the cartoonist's graduation in 1970. Today Doonesbury is syndicated to 1,000 daily and Sunday newspapers worldwide and is accessible online in association with The Washington Post.
In 1975, Trudeau became the first comic strip artist to win a Pulitzer, traditionally awarded to editorial-page cartoonists. He was also a Pulitzer finalist in 1990, 2004, and 2005. Other awards include the National Cartoonist Society Newspaper Comic Strip Award in 1994, and the Reuben Award in 1995. In 1993, Trudeau was made a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Wiley Miller, fellow comic-strip artist responsible for Non Sequitur, called him "far and away the most influential editorial cartoonist in the last 25 years". A regular graduation speaker, Trudeau has received 35 honorary degrees.
In addition to his creating his strip, Trudeau has worked in both theater and television. He was nominated for an Oscar in 1977 in the category of Animated Short Film for A Doonesbury Special, created for NBC in collaboration with John and Faith Hubley. The film went on to win the Cannes Film Festival Jury Special Prize in 1978. In 1984, with composer Elizabeth Swados, he wrote the book and lyrics for the Broadway musical Doonesbury, for which he was nominated for two Drama Desk Awards. A cast album of the show, recorded for MCA, received a Grammy nomination. Trudeau again collaborated with Swados in 1984, this time on Rap Master Ronnie, a satirical review about the Reagan Administration that opened off-Broadway at the Village Gate. A filmed version, featuring Jon Cryer, the Smothers Brothers, and Carol Kane, was broadcast on Cinemax in 1988.
Also in 1988, Trudeau wrote and co-produced with director Robert Altman HBO's critically acclaimed Tanner '88, a satiric look at that year's presidential election campaign. The show won the gold medal for Best Television Series at the Cannes Television Festival, the British Academy Television Award for Best Foreign Program, and Best Imported Program from the British Broadcasting Press Guild. It earned an Emmy Award, as well as four ACE Award nominations. In 2004, Trudeau reunited with Altman to write and co-produce a sequel mini-series, Tanner on Tanner, for the Sundance Channel.
In 1996, Newsweek and the Washington Post speculated that Trudeau had written the novel Primary Colors, which was later revealed to have been written by Joe Klein. In February 2000, Trudeau, working with Dotcomix, launched Duke2000, a web-based presidential campaign featuring a real-time, 3-D, streaming-animation version of Duke. Nearly 30 campaign videos were created for the site, and Ambassador Duke was interviewed live by satellite on the Today Show, Larry King Live, The Charlie Rose Show, and dozens of local TV and radio news shows.
In 2013, Trudeau created, wrote and co-produced Alpha House, a political sitcom starring John Goodman that revolves around four Republican U.S. Senators who live together in a townhouse on Capitol Hill. Trudeau was inspired to write the show's pilot after reading a 2007 New York Times article about a real D.C. townhouse shared by New York Senator Chuck Schumer, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, and California Representative George Miller, all Democrats. The pilot for Alpha House was produced by Amazon Studios and aired in early 2013. Due to positive response, Amazon picked up the show to develop into a full series, streaming eleven episodes for its first season. On March 31, 2014, Amazon announced that Alpha House had been renewed. Production began in July 2014, and the entire second season became available for streaming on October 24, 2014.
While writing Alpha House, Trudeau put the daily Doonesbury into rerun mode. On March 3, 2014 the "Classic Doonesbury" series began, featuring approximately four weeks of daily strips from each year of the strip's run. He continues to produce new strips for Sundays. Although Alpha House has not been in production since the end of 2014, Trudeau has not returned to creating daily Doonesbury strips; new material remains a Sunday-only event.
Trudeau has contributed to such publications as Harper's, Rolling Stone, The New Republic, The New Yorker, New York, and The Washington Post. From 1990-94, he wrote and drew an occasional column for The New York Times op-ed page, and was a contributing essayist for Time magazine from 1996 to 2001.
Beginning with the Gulf War in 1991, Trudeau has written about military issues extensively. In recognition for his work on wounded warriors, he has been presented with the Commander's Award for Public Service by the Department of the Army, the Commander's Award from Disabled American Veterans, the President's Award for Excellence in the Arts from Vietnam Veterans of America, the Distinguished Public Service Award from the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the Mental Health Research Advocacy Award from the Yale School of Medicine, and a special citation from the Vet Centers.
He received several unit commendations from the field during the Gulf War, and traveled with the USO to visit troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. From 2005 to 2014, his website hosted The Sandbox, a milblog posting over 800 essays by deployed soldiers, returned vets, caregivers, and spouses. For most of the strip's run, Trudeau has eschewed merchandising, but starting in 1998 he teamed up with Starbucks to create Doonesbury products to raise funds for local literacy programs. The items were offered for sale in Starbucks stores for nearly two years and raised over $1 million. Also for charity, Trudeau licensed the strip to Ben & Jerry's, which created a best-selling sorbet flavor called Doonesberry.
Garry Trudeau's son Ross, a digital media producer, is also a crossword constructor who has been published in the New York Times. As part of the ongoing celebrity partnership series, Ross and Garry collaborated on a crossword puzzle that was published on Tues. May 15, 2018 in the NYT. This is the 6th NYT puzzle for Ross and the 1st for Garry.
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Trudeau married Jane Pauley in 1980; they have three children. He maintains a low personal profile. A rare early appearance on television was as a guest on To Tell the Truth in 1971, where only one of the three panelists guessed his identity. In 1990, Trudeau appeared on the cover of Newsweek for Inside Doonesbury's Brain, a story written by Jonathan Alter. This was the first interview Trudeau had given in seventeen years.
Trudeau cooperated extensively with Wired magazine for a 2000 profile, "The Revolution Will be Satirized". He later spoke with the writer of that article, Edward Cone, for a 2004 newspaper column in the Greensboro, North Carolina News & Record, about the war wounds suffered by the Doonesbury character "B.D.", and in 2006 did a Q&A at Cone's personal blog about The Sandbox. Trudeau granted an interview to Rolling Stone in 2004 in which he discussed his time at Yale University, which he attended two years behind George W. Bush. He granted another Rolling Stone interview in 2010. In 2006, The Washington Post printed an extensive profile of Trudeau by writer Gene Weingarten. He appeared on the Charlie Rose television program, and at signings for The Long Road Home: One Step at a Time, his Doonesbury book about B.D.'s struggle with injuries received during the second Gulf War.
On August 1, 2016, Trudeau appeared on MSNBC on The Rachel Maddow Show. He was brought on to discuss his ability to predict and accurately write about Donald Trump's plans to run for president almost three decades earlier. Maddow presented cartoon strips from as far back as 1987. Trudeau was on her show to promote his new book Yuge, which covers 30 years of Trump appearing in Doonesbury. On November 7, 2016, Trudeau appeared on Fresh Air with Terry Gross to discuss Yuge.
Trudeau has attracted criticism both for the comic strip and for his own opinions. The Saturday Review once voted Trudeau one of the "Most Overrated People in American Arts and Letters", stating that after his hiatus, his comic strip was "predictable, mean-spirited, and not as funny as before."
Eric Alterman, writing in The Nation, called Doonesbury "one of the great intellectual/artistic accomplishments of the past half-century, irrespective of category".
Trudeau's acceptance speech on the occasion of receiving a Polk Award in 2015 for lifetime achievement stirred controversy. In the speech, Trudeau criticized the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo—after a number of Charlie Hebdo writers, editors and cartoonists had been murdered execution style in their own Paris offices by Muslim terrorists—for "punching downward..., attacking a powerless, disenfranchised minority with crude, vulgar drawings closer to graffiti than cartoons", and thereby wandering "into the realm of hate speech" with cartoons of Muhammad. Writing in The Atlantic, in which Trudeau had published his speech, political commentator David Frum criticized what he called Trudeau's "moral theory" that calls for identifying "the bearer of privilege", then holding "the privilege-bearer responsible". Trudeau was labelled a "terror apologist" by the editors of The New York Post for his comments, with his choice of the venue in which to make them "adding to the insult".