Garry Trudeau

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Garry Trudeau
Gary Trudeau 2012 Shankbone.JPG
Trudeau at the 2012 Time 100 gala
Born Garretson Beekman Trudeau
(1948-07-21) July 21, 1948 (age 66)
New York City, U.S.
Occupation Cartoonist
Years active 1970–present
Known for Doonesbury
Spouse(s) Jane Pauley (1980–present)
Children Rachel, Ross, Thomas
Awards 1975 Pulitzer Prize
1977 Nominated for Academy Award for Animated Short Film
1978 Jury Special Prize
1994 Newspaper Comic Strip Award
1995 Reuben Award

Garretson Beekman "Garry" Trudeau (born July 21, 1948) is an American cartoonist, best known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning Doonesbury comic strip. Trudeau is also the creator and executive producer of the Amazon Studios political comedy series Alpha House.

Background and education[edit]

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.[1] Among his great-great-great-grandfathers were Bishop Richard Channing Moore (through his father) and New York politician Francis E. Spinner (through his mother). Trudeau is also descendant from Gerardus Beekman, one of the earliest colonial governors of the Province of New York.[citation needed] His ancestry includes French (Canadian), English, Dutch, German, and Swedish.[2]

Raised in Saranac Lake, Garry Trudeau attended St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire. He enrolled in Yale University in 1966. Although Trudeau was confident that his major would end up being theatre, he discovered a greater interest in art design. He spent much of his time cartooning and writing for Yale's humor magazine The Yale Record,[3] eventually serving as the magazine's editor-in-chief. At the same time, Trudeau began contributing editorial cartoons to the Yale Daily News, where a drawing he did of Yale quarterback Brian Dowling led to the creation of a comic strip for the paper, Bull Tales, the progenitor of Doonesbury.[4] As a senior, he became a member of Scroll and Key. Trudeau did postgraduate work at the Yale School of Art, earning a master of fine arts degree in graphic design in 1973.

Creative works[edit]

In 1970, Trudeau's creation of Doonesbury was syndicated by the newly formed Universal Press Syndicate. Today Doonesbury is syndicated to almost 1,400 newspapers worldwide and is accessible online in association with The Washington Post at

In 1975, he became the first comic strip artist to win a Pulitzer, traditionally awarded to editorial-page cartoonists. He was also a Pulitzer finalist in 1990. He was nominated for an Oscar in 1977 in the category of Animated Short Film, for A Doonesbury Special, in collaboration with John Hubley and Faith Hubley. A Doonesbury Special eventually won the Cannes Film Festival Jury Special Prize in 1978. Other awards include the National Cartoonist Society Newspaper Comic Strip Award in 1994, and the Reuben Award in 1995.

He was made a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1993. Wiley Miller, fellow comic-strip artist responsible for Non Sequitur, called Trudeau "far and away the most influential editorial cartoonist in the last 25 years."

In addition to his work on Doonesbury, Trudeau has teamed with Elizabeth Swados and written plays, such as Rap Master Ronnie and Doonesbury: A Musical Comedy. In 1988, Trudeau joined forces with director Robert Altman for the HBO miniseries Tanner '88 and the Sundance Channel miniseries sequel Tanner on Tanner in 2004.

In 1996, Newsweek and the Washington Post speculated that Trudeau wrote the novel Primary Colors, which was later revealed to have been written by Joe Klein.

Trudeau wrote the political sitcom Alpha House, starring John Goodman. The series revolves around four Republican U.S. Senators who live together in a townhouse on Capitol Hill.[5] 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 and California Representative George Miller.[6]

The pilot for Alpha House was produced by Amazon Studios and aired in early 2013. Due to positive response, Amazon picked up Alpha House to develop into a full series, streaming eleven episodes for its first season.[7] On March 31, 2014 Amazon announced that Alpha House has been renewed for a second season.[8]

Private life and public appearances[edit]

Trudeau married journalist Jane Pauley in 1980. They have three children and live in New York City.

Trudeau maintains a low personal profile. A rare and 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 a story called "Inside Doonesbury's Brain," written by Jonathan Alter. This was the first interview Trudeau had given in seventeen years.[9] Trudeau and Alter became friends after the interview and would collaborate years later as executive producers on the Amazon political series Alpha House.

In 1993, Trudeau was the Baccalaureate speaker at Princeton University.

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, NC News & Record, about the war wounds suffered by Doonesbury character B.D., and did a 2006 Q&A at Cone's personal blog about his new site, The Sandbox.

Trudeau granted an interview with 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.[10] He has also appeared on the Charlie Rose television program,[4] and at signings for his Doonesbury book about B.D.'s struggle with injuries received during the second Gulf War.[11]

On December 6, 2010, Trudeau appeared on The Colbert Report on Comedy Central to speak about 40: A Doonesbury retrospective.

On December 17, 2013, Trudeau again appeared on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report to talk about the inspiration for his political comedy series Alpha House.

Criticisms and controversies[edit]

In 1985, Saturday Review voted Trudeau one of the country's “Most Overrated People in American Arts and Letters,” commenting that “The most publicized return since MacArthur’s has produced a strip that is predictable, mean-spirited, and not as funny as before.”[12]

In 2004, Trudeau made a widely circulated offer of a $10,000 reward (in the form of a gift to the United Service Organizations in the winner's name) for proof that George W. Bush fulfilled his military duties in the 1970s.[13][14][15] (See George W. Bush military service controversy for more complete coverage). No one has collected on the offer.[16][17]


Non-Doonesbury publications[edit]

  • Finding Your Religion: When the Faith You Grew Up With Has Lost Its Meaning, by Scotty McLennan. Trudeau wrote the introduction and drew the cover cartoon.


  1. ^ The Trudeau Institute.
  2. ^ "Ancestry of Garry Trudeau". Family Tree Maker's Genealogy Site: My Genealogy Home Page. Retrieved 2014-12-13. 
  3. ^ Trudeau, Garry (November, 1968). Cover Illustration. The Yale Record. New Haven: Yale Record.
  4. ^ a b Charlie Rose - GARRY TRUDEAU on YouTube, Charlie Rose October 11, 2004, uploaded on August 27, 2007 on Youtube
  5. ^ Goodman, Tim (14 November 2013). "Alpha House: TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 24 July 2014. 
  6. ^ Camia, Catalina (20 November 2013). "Durbin: No sex or drugs in real 'Alpha House'". USA Today. Retrieved 4 August 2014. 
  7. ^ Amazon kills 'Zombieland' TV project, backs 'Alpha House', Reuters, May 17, 2013
  8. ^ Alpha House Season 2 Production Kicks Off This Summer
  9. ^ Felsenthal, Carol (21 November 2013). Magazine "Jonathan Alter on the Making of Alpha House". Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  10. ^ Doonesbury's War, Washington Post, October 22, 2006
  11. ^ "Doonesbury" & Private Lupo on YouTube, Pentagon Channel, uploaded September 27, 2006
  12. ^ "The 42 Most Underrated/Overrated People in American Arts and Letters". The Saturday Review (April). 1985. pp. 31–35. Retrieved 2014-12-13. 
  13. ^ Wilson, Giles (24 February 2004). "Cartoon steps into the real world". BBC News Online. Retrieved 30 June 2012. 
  14. ^ Rose, Derek (25 February 2004). "And In The Comics...". NY Daily News. Retrieved 30 June 2012. 
  15. ^ "'Doonesbury' offers $10,000 for proof Bush served". CNN. 25 February 2004. Retrieved 30 June 2012. 
  16. ^ Rich, Frank (5 September 2004). "How Kerry Became a Girlie-Man". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 June 2012. 
  17. ^ Glaister, Dan (26 May 2004). "Doonesbury at war". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 June 2012. 

External links[edit]