Ripley, Robert LeRoy

Ripley, Robert LeRoy, 1890–1949, American cartoonist, b. Santa Rosa, Calif., as Leroy Robert Ripley. The creator of the Believe It or Not! newspaper cartoon, Ripley began his career at 16 as a sports cartoonist for San Francisco newspapers, later moving (1912) to the New York Globe. His first Believe It or Not! strip was published in 1918 and detailed two sports oddities. The cartoons became wildly popular and were soon expanded to a daily series that included oddities of all sorts. Beginning in 1922, Ripley became a world traveler, seeking out strange facts to amaze his public. The strip was ultimately featured in more than 300 papers in 38 countries and 17 languages. Eventually, Ripley also had a New York corporation and national radio show, made 26 movie shorts, and published several bestselling collections of his work.

See biography by N. Thompson (2013) R. Manley and M. V. P. Mark, Dear Mr. Ripley: A Compendium of Curioddities from the Believe It or Not! Archives (1993).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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