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THE Marmaduke Files - Setting the Record Straight


Phil Leeming, Not Brad Anderson, Was the Creator of Marmaduke

If you ask most people with any knowledge of the comic strip Marmaduke, "Who created the strip?" they will most likely say, "Brad Anderson".  If they do, they are wrong, even if Anderson may have said so himself.  The creator of both the character and the strip was cartoon gag writer Phil Leeming.  Phil, who had supplied gags to cartoonist Anderson previously, worked with cartoonist Anderson but was himself the writer.  After Phil's death, his wife Dorothy took over the writing, with help from their daughter Barbara.  Phil worked with many cartoonists and was described as being consistently considered to be in the top ten gag writers in the country, at that time number three according to an editor of Look Magazine. 

For more details see the newspaper articles below, two versions of Phil's obituary and a later feature article on his wife Dorothy who took over writing the strip.  You can get a more accurate picture of Marmaduke's history by reading both, as opposed to the Wkipedia article on Marmaduke or Brad Anderson's obituary, which lack this information and/or contain some inaccurate material.   

Why Is This Posted Here?

In addition to wanting to set the record straight on Marmaduke, I knew Phil personally.  He was a friend and one-time employee of my father, who was a very funny person in his own right and who also had a hand in the "birthing" of Marmaduke, as attested in an inscription to him in a copy of the first addition of the 1955 book Marmaduke, by Brad Anderson and Phil Leeming, pictured below.


Two copies of Phil Leeming's obituary, June 12, 1962, one from The Washington Evening Star, which is no longer being published, and the other from the Washington Post, and a feature article from the Star, January 13, 1964, on Dorothy Leeming, Phil's widow, who took over the writing of the strip after his illness and death.


The jacket from the 1955 book Marmaduke, by Brad Anderson and Phil Leeming


The title page of the book


The inscription from Phil Leeming to my dad, Ben Mudrick, "for being such a good midwife when Marmaduke was born".  My dad would sometimes provide cartoon gags to Phil.


Inscription to my brother and me on an early Marmaduke promotional piece designed to be sent to newspapers by the cartoon's publisher, National Newspaper Syndicate, aka John F. Dille Company

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