Hank Ketcham

Cartoonist

Born: 14 March 1920
Died: 1 June 2001 (prostate cancer)
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington
Best known as: Creator of Dennis the Menace

Name at birth: Henry King Ketcham

 

Ketcham was the creator of Dennis the Menace, a one-panel comic strip starring a five-year-old scalawag and the friends and family he tormented. As a young man Ketcham dropped out of college and worked for animators Walter Lantz and Walt Disney (he worked on the Disney films Fantasia and Pinocchio, among others). In 1951 he first published Dennis the Menace, the strip based on the antics of his own 4-year-old son Dennis. (Among the strip's supporting cast were the long-suffering curmudgeon Mr. Wilson and the snippy schoolgirl Margaret.) He continued drawing the strip until 1994, when he retired and passed the strip onto a team of writers and cartoonists.

Extra credit:

Ketcham lived in Switzerland from 1960-1977... Ironically, Ketcham and his son Dennis were estranged for much of Dennis's adult life... The strip was made into a popular TV series (1959-63) starring Jay North as Dennis, and a 1993 feature film starring Mason Gamble as Dennis.

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