Cathy Guisewite

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Cathy Guisewite
Cathy Guisewite in 1987, accepting her Emmy Award
Born Cathy Lee Guisewite
(1950-09-05) September 5, 1950 (age 66)
Dayton, Ohio, USA
Nationality American
Area(s) Cartoonist
Notable works
Cathy (1976-2010)
Awards 1987 Emmy Award
1993 Reuben Award

Cathy Lee Guisewite (born September 5, 1950) is an American cartoonist who created the comic strip Cathy, which had a 34-year run. The strip focused on a career woman facing the issues and challenges of eating, work, relationships and having a mother—or as the character put it in one strip, "the four basic guilt groups."

Early life[edit]

Guisewite was born in Dayton, Ohio[1] to William L. and Anne Guisewite. She was raised raised in Midland, Michigan with older sister Mary Anne Nagy and younger sister Mickey. Guisewite graduated from Midland High School in 1968.

She attended the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where she was a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority. In 1972, she earned a bachelor's degree in English.


After college, Guisewite followed her father's vocation and began working in advertising[1] at Campbell-Ewald, then Norman Prady before settling at W.B. Doner & Co. near Detroit. She became a vice president of the firm in 1976.[2]

She continued to draw funny pictures as an "emotional coping mechanism" to events in her life and work, and she would forward them to her parents.[1] Her mother kept urging her to send them to a publisher, so finally, she did. "My entire goal with my submission package was to get my mother off my back. My goal was not to do a comic strip. It was to make Mom quit telling me I could do a comic strip."[3]

Guisewite was flabbergasted when the company sent her a contract to produce a comic strip. Cathy was syndicated to 66 newspapers in 1976[4] by Universal Press Syndicate, now Universal Uclick,[5] and Guisewite did both—her advertising job during the day, and comics at night. By 1980, the strip was carried by 150 dailies and she was earning $50,000 per year for Cathy,[4] so she finally quit the advertising business to work on Cathy full-time and moved to Santa Barbara, California.[1]

The comic strip was a "running social commentary"[6] for her confusion. Guisewite explained, "You were a liberated woman or you were or a traditionalist. To even voice vulnerability if you were a feminist was wrong and to voice interest in liberation if you were a more traditional woman was wrong. So I believe the women I was speaking to in the early years of my strip were women like me, who were at that age in our 20s where we were kind of launched into adulthood with a foot in both worlds and no way to really express it.”[6]

Guisewite appeared several times as a guest on the late night TV series The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.[7]

At the peak of the strip's popularity in the mid-1990s, it appeared in almost 1,400 papers.[1] However, on August 11, 2010, Guisewite announced the strip's retirement after 34 years. Its run ended on October 3, 2010 (a Sunday strip).[5][8]


In 1987, she received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program for the TV special Cathy, which aired on CBS.

Guisewite is a member of the National Cartoonists Society and received their highest honor, the Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year, in 1992.

Guisewite has been granted three honorary degrees from Russell Sage College, Rhode Island College and Eastern Michigan University.[9]


Guisewite adopted daughter Ivy in 1992, then married screenwriter Christopher Wilkinson in 1997. Wilkinson has a son, Cooper, but the couple had no children together.[10][11] Guisewite and Wilkinson divorced in 2010.[11]

One of Guisewite's classmates at University of Michigan was screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan. When Kasdan's movie The Big Chill (1983) opened, Guisewite devoted an entire week of Cathy strips to it, with Cathy and her co-workers enthusing over the film and seeing it repeatedly.



  1. ^ a b c d e Heintjes, Tom (April 24, 2012). "The Cathy Guisewite Interview". Hogan's Alley. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "Cathy Lee Guisewite". Gale Encyclopedia of Biography. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  3. ^ Guisewite, Cathy (April 24, 2012). "The Cathy Guisewite Interview". Hogan's Alley (Interview). Interview with Tom Heintjes. Retrieved September 9, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Sweeney, Louise (March 13, 1980). "When life becomes a comic strip". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Sudekum Fisher, Maria (August 11, 2010). "'Cathy' comic strip ending after 34 years". Huffington Post. AP. Retrieved September 9, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b Peters, Jeremy W. (August 15, 2010). "Swimsuit Season’s Over. For Good.". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  7. ^ Cathy Guisewite on Internet Movie Database
  8. ^ LaRue Huget, Jennifer (September 30, 2010). "Cathy Guisewite, creator of 'Cathy' comic, on weight". Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-10-10. 
  9. ^ Reynolds, Moira Davison (2003-02-18). Comic Strip Artists in American Newspapers, 1945-1980. McFarland. ISBN 9780786415519. 
  10. ^ "Member Bios: Cathy Guisewite". National Cartoonists Society. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Gallagher, Deirdre (December 27, 2010). "Passages". People. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 

External links[edit]