Norman Bridwell

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For the DC comics editor, see E. Nelson Bridwell.
Norman Bridwell
Norman Bridwell, Clifford the Big Red Dog, 2011.jpg
Bridwell in 2011, holding a copy of the first Clifford the Big Red Dog book.
Born Norman Ray Bridwell[1]
(1928-02-15)February 15, 1928
Kokomo, Indiana
Died December 12, 2014(2014-12-12) (aged 86)
Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts
Occupation Writer and illustrator
Nationality American
Genre Children's literature
Notable works Clifford the Big Red Dog
Spouse Norma Howard Bridwell[2](1958-2014; his death)
Children 2

Norman Ray Bridwell (February 15, 1928 – December 12, 2014) was an American author and cartoonist best known for the Clifford the Big Red Dog series of children's books.

Early life[edit]

Bridwell was born in 1928[3] in Kokomo, Indiana, to Leona and Vern Bridwell.[4] He graduated from Kokomo High School in 1945,[4] and went on to attend John Herron School of Art[5] in Indianapolis, and Cooper Union,[5] in New York City.


Bridwell put together a portfolio and attempted to get a job as a children's book illustrator but was rejected by around fifteen publishing houses.[5] While at Harper & Row, an editor offhandedly suggested he turn one of his drawings into a story. The drawing was of a baby girl and a horse-sized bloodhound, and the story became Clifford The Big Red Dog.[5] That book spawned over 40 best-selling Clifford books,[5] two television series,[6] merchandise,[7] and a live musical.[8]

Bridwell's other successful books include The Witch Next Door, and A Tiny Family. There are over 126 million copies of his books in print in 13 languages.[3]

Personal life[edit]

By 1962, Bridwell was married to his wife Norma Howard,[2] and they had an infant daughter Emily Elizabeth, as well as a son named Timothy. At the time of his death, they had three grandchildren.[9][10]

The Bridwells resided on Martha's Vineyard, from 1969 until his death.[9]

Bridwell died of heart failure at 86 on December 12, 2014.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Norman Ray Bridwell, beloved author of Clifford the Big Red Dog, dead at 86". Martha's Vineyard Times. December 16, 2014. Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Langer, Emily (December 17, 2014). "Norman Bridwell, writer and illustrator who created Clifford the Big Red Dog, dies at 86". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Norman Bridwell". 
  4. ^ a b "Norman Bridwell - Never Give Up on Your Dreams". Howard County Memory Project. 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Biography: Norman Bridwell". KidsReads. The Book Report Network. 2012. 
  6. ^ "Program Summary: Clifford The Big Red Dog and Clifford's Puppy Days". Parents & Teachers. PBS. 
  7. ^ "Clifford The Big Red Dog". Shop PBS Kids. PBS. 
  8. ^ "Clifford The Big Red Dog Live Show". Scholastic. January 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Fretts, Bruce (September 8, 2000). "Living A Dog's Life: Norman Bridwell". Entertainment Weekly. 
  10. ^ Leopold, Todd (December 16, 2014). "Norman Bridwell, creator of 'Clifford the Big Red Dog,' dead at 86". CNN. Retrieved December 18, 2014. 

External links[edit]