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 originator of both the character and the strip was cartoon gag writer Philip Leeming. Phil, who had supplied gags to cartoonist Anderson previously, collaborated with Anderson as the artist but came up with the idea and character Marmaduke previously. Phil was the writer. Characters other than Marmaduke were based on members of the Leeming family. After Phil's death, his wife Dorothy took over the writing, with help from their daughter Barbara Szenas. 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.
The original Marmaduke book collection is credited to Brad Anderson and Phil Leeming, although for years only Anderson's name appeared at the top of the strip. "By Leeming and Anderson" was used when Dorothy took over the writing.
For more details see the newspaper articles below, which contain two versions of Phil's obituary and a later feature article on his wife Dorothy after she over writing the strip. You can get a more accurate picture of Marmaduke's history by reading these, as opposed to the Wikipedia article on Marmaduke or Brad Anderson's obituary, which lack this information and/or contain some inaccurate material.
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
Tom Duck and Harry
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