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Born on February 15th, 1954, Matt Groening grew up in Portland Oregon. Groening began his doodling career at an early age - in fact, it was the first day of school. Matt admits, however, that his doodling during class hours often resulted in a visit to the principal's office. Yet despite the disapproval of his teachers, Groening refused to give up his labour of love.

In 1977, Matt graduated from the "Evergreen State College" in Olympia, Washington. According to an article in the book, "Simpsons Mania", Evergreen State College was not exactly your average college - it didn't give grades and had no required classes. While at Evergreen, Matt spent most of his time working on the school's newspaper and later headed to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a writer. Instead of writing for a newspaper or magazine, Matt worked as a chauffeur and "biographer" for an 88-year old movie director.

Matt's career took a drastic turn when he created a cynical comic entitled "Life In Hell" which was based on his early experiences in Los Angeles. The comic strip was centred on a bitter and simply drawn rabbit named "Binky." Other characters in the comic were Sheba (Binky's girlfriend) and two identical characters called Akbar andJeff (resembling a mutated Charlie Brown). In 1980, "Life In Hell" debuted in the Los Angeles Reader, a weekly newspaper where Groening served as editor. Life In Hell became a huge success for Matt and the comic, after ten years of existence, is featured in over 200 newspapers in both the United States and Canada. Several books by Groening including "School Is Hell," "Love Is Hell," "Work is Hell," "The Big Book of Hell," "Akbar and Jeff's Guide to Life," "Binky's Guide to Love" and "Love is Hell - 10th Anniversary Edition," can be found in local bookstores. Matt's cartooning career, however, did not end there ....

On September 8, 1986, The Simpsons made its debut as a two minute sketch on the Tracey Ullman Show. According to Groening, he had received a phone call from James Brookes who wanted him to do some animation for the popular show. Matt quickly drew five brand new characters for the presentation - characters that would inevitably garner a huge following of fans. The Simpsons was Groening's first experience with animation. The Simpsons earned instant acclaim by critics and fans when in 1990, it debuted as the Fox Network's highest-rated program.

Over the last 20 years, the show has won over 20 Emmy awards and made history for becoming the longest running prime time animated series on television. The Simpsons was the first animated series to be given a Peabody Award, and in 2000 the Simpson family was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Simpsons Movie, released in 2007, was nominated for several major awards, including a Golden Globe Award.

The Simpson family, comprised of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie, are named after, but not based on, Groening's family. Matt's father and son are named Homer, his mother is named Margaret and his younger sisters are named Lisa and Maggie. Bart is an anagram of the word "brat", however, Groening insists that Bart is not a portrayal of himself. As well, many of the characters such as Chief Wiggum have been named after various streets where Matt was raised.

With the success of his show, Groening when onto form the "Bongo Comics Group" in 1993. As the publisher of Bongo Comics, Groening has created four different comic book titles including:"Simpsons Comics," "Radioactive Man," "Bartman" and "Itchy and Scratchy Comics." Groening has also produced two special comic series: "Lisa Comics" and Krusty Comics." The Simpsons Comics are currently still in production today and have published over 30 issues. Groening has also published a number of books about the Simpsons including: "Bart's Guide to Life," "Making Faces with the Simpsons," "The Rainy Day Fun Book," "The Simpsons Family Album." Simpsons merchandise like T-shirts, posters, video games are still extremely popular with die hard fans. This past year, Groening and FOX have produced several new Simpsons collectibles including two Simpsons calendars, a book called "The Simpson's Guide to Springfield," memorabilia such as Christmas ornaments, comic books and the third Simpson's album, "The Yellow Album."





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