Roger Hargreaves

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Roger Hargreaves
BornCharles Roger Hargreaves
(1935-05-09)9 May 1935
Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, England
Died11 September 1988(1988-09-11) (aged 53)
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England
OccupationAuthor, illustrator
Period1971–1988
GenreFantasy
SubjectChildren's literature
Notable worksMr. Men
Little Miss
Timbuctoo
Notable awardsBest Books of the Year 1983
SpouseChristine Hargreaves
Children4; including Adam
Website
mrmen.com

Charles Roger Hargreaves (9 May 1935 – 11 September 1988) was an English author and illustrator of children's books. He created the Mr. Men series, Little Miss series and Timbuctoo series, intended for young readers. The simple and humorous stories, with brightly coloured, boldly drawn illustrations, have sales of over 85 million copies worldwide in 20 languages.[1] The first title in the series, Mr. Tickle, was published in August 1971.[2]

Birth[edit]

Charles Roger Hargreaves was born in a private hospital[3] at 201 Bath Road, Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, England, on 9 May 1935 to Alfred Reginald Hargreaves and Ethel Mary Hargreaves. He grew up at 703 Halifax Road,[3] Hartshead Moor, Cleckheaton, outside of which, there now is a commemorative plaque.

Early life[edit]

Hargreaves attended Sowerby Bridge Grammar School (now Trinity Academy Sowerby Bridge).[4] He then spent a year working in his father's laundry and dry-cleaning business before gaining employment in advertising.[1][5] By 1968, he was creative director of the Foote, Cone & Belding agency where he wrote slogans such as "Emigrate to Canada Dry (for the sake of your Scotch)".[2] Originally wanting to become a cartoonist, in 1971, he created a successful series of characters used to promote Askit Powders on television (these were used from 1971 to 1994).[6]

Also, in 1971 while working as the creative director at a London firm, he wrote the first Mr. Men book, Mr. Tickle. Initially, he had difficulty finding a publisher, but once he did, the books became an instant success, selling over one million copies within three years. In 1974,[7] the books spawned a BBC animated television series narrated by Arthur Lowe. A second series the following year saw newer titles transmitted in double bill format with those from the first series.

By 1976, Hargreaves had quit his day job. In 1981, the Little Miss series of books was launched and in 1983, it also was made into a television series narrated by Pauline Collins and her husband, John Alderton. Although Hargreaves wrote many other children's stories—including the Timbuctoo series of 25 books, John Mouse and the Roundy and Squarey books—he is best known for his 46 Mr. Men and 33 Little Miss books.

Death[edit]

Between 1975 and 1982, Hargreaves lived with his family on Guernsey. Then, they settled at Sussex House Farm near Cowden, Kent. Hargreaves died on 11 September 1988 at the age of 53 and at the Kent and Sussex Hospital in Royal Tunbridge Wells following a stroke. He was buried in Cowden, East Sussex. He bought the adjacent field to the grave yard at Cowden Church so that he could be buried there.[8] After his death, his son, Adam, continued writing and drawing the Mr. Men and Little Miss characters with new stories (while signing the covers in his father's signature). In April 2004, Hargreaves' widow Christine sold the rights to the Mr. Men characters to the UK entertainment group Chorion, for £28 million.[9] In December 2011, Chorion sold the Mr. Men brand and its associated merchandise business to Japan's Sanrio.[10]

On 4 March 2021, Hargreaves was posthumously awarded a gold Blue Peter badge.

Family[edit]

Hargreaves and his wife had four children: Adam, Giles and twins Sophie and Amelia. The first of the Mr. Men characters was allegedly created when Hargreaves' son Adam, then aged 8, asked his father what a tickle looked like. Hargreaves drew a figure with a round orange body and long arms which became Mr. Tickle.

Series by Roger Hargreaves[edit]

  • Mr. Men
  • Little Miss
  • Walter Worm
  • John Mouse
  • Albert Elephant, Count Worm and Grandfather Clock
  • I am...
  • Timbuctoo
  • Hippo Potto and Mouse
  • Easy Peasy People (also by Gray Jolliffe)
  • Roundy and Squarey

Appearances in other books[edit]

Some Mr. Men books have Hargreaves drawn in them. He appears in:

Legacy[edit]

Google celebrated what would have been his 76th birthday, 9 May 2011, with a series of 16 Google Doodles on its global homepage.[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "People of 1988: Obituaries", 1989 Britannica Book of the Year, Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 1989, ISBN 0-85229-504-9
  2. ^ a b Tait, Amelia (18 August 2021). "How the Mr Men made their millions". New Statesman. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  3. ^ a b Heward, Margaret (18 October 2007). "You need dedication to be tickled orange". Spenborough Guardian. Johnston Press Digital Publishing. Retrieved 14 March 2008.
  4. ^ Sowerby Bridge High Old Boy or Girl at Halifax Courier. Retrieved 25 May 2015
  5. ^ "Let's Go to Misterland". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  6. ^ Made in Scotland, by Carol Foreman
  7. ^ "Mr Men to return in new TV series", BBC News, 15 April 2007
  8. ^ John Malam (2004). "Hargreaves, (Charles) Roger". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/76335. ISBN 978-0-19-861412-8. Retrieved 9 May 2011. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  9. ^ "Mr Men join Chorion in £28m deal". Evening Standard. UK. Archived from the original on 23 June 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  10. ^ Mark Sweney (6 December 2011). "Mr Men bought by Hello Kitty owner". The Guardian. UK.
  11. ^ "Mr Men Google doodles celebrate 76th birthday of creator Roger Hargreaves". The Telegraph. London. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2011.

External links[edit]