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The Grinch
Dr. Seuss character
The Grinch.png
The Grinch (right) with his dog Max
First appearance "The Hoobub and the Grinch" (1955)
Created by Dr. Seuss
Portrayed by see below
Nickname(s) Grinch
Gender Male

The Grinch is a fictional green character created by Dr. Seuss. He is best known as the main character of the children's book How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1957).

Character description[edit]

The Grinch is depicted as a furry, green humanoid recluse living in seclusion on a cliff overlooking the cheerful and optimistic town of Whoville. He scorns the Christmas season and the boisterous and rambunctious festivities customarily celebrated during the holiday; apparently irritated by the happiness of others and deriving pleasure from spoiling other people's merriment. Aided by his pet dog, Max, he disguises himself as Santa Claus and breaks into the Whos' homes to steal their holiday decorations and gifts. Although his plan works, he is infuriated on Christmas morning to find the Whos singing cheerfully despite his actions. Convinced that the holiday must carry a meaning distinct from its decorations and gifts, the Grinch returns and distributes his stolen goods to the Whos, with whom he thereafter celebrates. Nevertheless, the Grinch is still portrayed as a bitter and ill-tempered character in artwork or other media. In both the animated TV special and the 2000 live-action film, he is shown to have superhuman strength when he stops an entire sleigh loaded with presents from going over a cliff and lifts it over his head, and he is also described as "[finding] the strength of ten Grinches plus two" during that moment of crisis.

With the character's anti-holiday spirit followed by the transformation on Christmas morning, scholars have noted similarity to Ebenezer Scrooge from Charles Dickens' 1843 novella A Christmas Carol.[1][2] Cardiologist David Kass suggested that the rapid growth of the Grinch's heart at the end of the story indicates that the Grinch has the physiology of a Burmese python.[3]


Dr. Seuss working on How the Grinch Stole Christmas! in early 1957.

The Grinch first appeared in the May 1955 issue of Redbook in a 32-line poem called "The Hoobub and the Grinch,"[4] but made his book debut in the 1957 story How the Grinch Stole Christmas, written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss, published as both a Random House book and in an issue of Redbook magazine. Nine years later in 1966, the story was adapted into an animated television featurette of the same name, which was directed by Chuck Jones and included the song "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch". Boris Karloff serves as both the story's narrator and the voice of the Grinch.

In 1977, Seuss responded to the fan request for more Grinch tales by writing Halloween is Grinch Night, that serves as a prequel to the 1966 film. This was followed in 1982, when Marvel green-lit The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat a TV film starring The Cat in the Hat, also produced by Dr. Seuss (though under his real name, Ted Geisel). Although not as successful as the original, the two films both received Emmy Awards. Several episodes of the 1996 Nick Jr. television show The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss featured the Grinch, this time in puppet form, a rare screen appearance for the character without being animated or illustrated.[5]

A 2000 live-action feature comedy film based on the story, directed by Ron Howard[6] and starring Jim Carrey as the Grinch, was a major financial success,[7] although it received many mixed reviews and holds a 53% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[8] A video game based on the film, simply entitled The Grinch, was released on several consoles and PC in the same year. It was followed in 2007 with the release of a Nintendo DS version that went under the full title of the movie.

The Grinch was portrayed on the stage when the story was turned into a musical by the Children's Theater Company out of Minneapolis. The show made it to Broadway by way of a limited run in 2006, with Patrick Page playing the Grinch.[9] The Grinch is also a minor character in Seussical, which is a crossover between various Dr. Seuss stories.

The Grinch's story will be adapted in animated form in 2018 by Illumination Entertainment, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the title character.[10]

Popularity within American culture[edit]

The Grinch has since become an icon of the winter holidays, despite the character's hatred of the season, and has appeared on various forms of memorabilia such as Christmas ornaments, plush dolls, and various clothing items.[9] The grumpy, anti-holiday spirit of the character has led to the term "Grinch"[11][12] coming to refer to a person opposed to Christmas time celebrations[13][14][15] or to someone with a coarse, greedy attitude.[12] In 2002, TV Guide ranked The Grinch number 5 on its "50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time" list.[11]


  1. ^ Philip Nel (2005). "Dr. Seuss: American Icon". p. 130. Continuum,
  2. ^ Jacob M. Held (2011). "Dr. Seuss and Philosophy: Oh, the Thinks You Can Think". p. 147. Littlefield Publishers,
  3. ^ Hamilton, Jon. "Heart 2 Sizes Too Small? Mr. Grinch, See Your Cardiologist." NPR. 22 December 2017. 22 December 2017.
  4. ^ Philip Nel (2005). "Dr. Seuss: American Icon". The Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 117. 
  5. ^ "The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss." The Jim Henson Company. 22 December 2017.
  6. ^ Oscar awards 2001
  7. ^ "How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-07-07. 
  8. ^ "How the Grinch Stole Christmas at Rotten Tomatoes". Retrieved 2012-07-07. 
  9. ^ a b Fee, Christopher R., ed., and Jeffrey B. Webb, ed. "American Myths, Legends, and Tall Tales: An Encyclopedia of American ...." Google Books. 22 December 2017.
  10. ^ Franich, Darren. "Benedict Cumberbatch is the new Grinch." Entertainment Weekly. 13 April 2016. 22 December 2017.
  11. ^ a b TV Guide Book of Lists. Running Press. 2007. p. 158. ISBN 0-7624-3007-9. 
  12. ^ a b Serf_12 December 17, 2009 7:21 PM EST (2009-12-17). "Citigroup Suspends Foreclosures: Grinch's Heart Grows Three Sizes! - Econwatch". CBS News. Retrieved 2012-07-07. 
  13. ^ "Orlando Grinch? Former Osceola County courts supervisor faces tri". 2010-11-02. Retrieved 2012-07-07. 
  14. ^ Felps, Bruce (2010-11-09). "Grinch Grabs Salvation Army Kettle | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth". Retrieved 2012-07-07. 
  15. ^ "S | WTAM - Local News - The BIG One - WTAM 1100". WTAM. Retrieved 2012-07-07. 

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