Best remembered for creating the popular Little Orphan Annie comic strip, this twentieth-century cartoonist often included political commentary in his artwork. He also frequently contributed to a western-themed comic strip titled Little Joe.
In 1917, he earned an engineering degree from Purdue University. Before serving briefly in World War I, he was employed by the Chicago Tribune as a reporter.
His Little Orphan Annie comic, titled after an 1885 poem by James Whitcomb Riley, inspired a Broadway musical, a popular radio program, and several films.
He grew up in Kankakee and West Lafayette, Illinois, and was orphaned in his teens. Following the 1925 death of his first wife, Doris C. Platt, he settled in Connecticut with his second wife, Winifred Frost.
Early in his career, he was mentored by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist John T. McCutcheon.