Matt Groening

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Matt Groening

Matthew Abram Groening (born February 15, 1954) (name rhymes with raining, IPA is an American cartoonist and the creator of the television series The Simpsons and Futurama. He currently serves at the former as creative consultant.


Early life

While at Lincoln High School, he was the student body president. He graduated from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.

Before his work in television, Groening created the syndicated comic strip Life in Hell, which is still carried in many weekly newspapers and has been anthologized in a series of books, such as School is Hell, Love is Hell, Work is Hell, and The Big Book of Hell.

The Simpsons

When he went in to Fox to pitch them an idea for a cartoon, Groening had second thoughts about turning Life in Hell into a TV series in case it failed. He also feared that Fox would take ownership of the rights to his characters and he wouldn't be able to continue writing his strip. As such he came up with The Simpsons on the spot.

The Simpson family character names

He quickly named the main family Simpson characters after his own family (reportedly he was not feeling very creative in those fifteen minutes), his parents, Homer and Margaret (Marge), and his younger sisters, Lisa and Maggie. Groening also has an older brother and sister, Mark and Patty, but these siblings were left out of the main Simpson family. As for Groening himself, he decided it was a bit too obvious to name a character after himself and therefore chose the name "Bart" (an anagram of brat). Not wishing to curse another member of his family by lending their name to a cartoon character, Groening says he refused to name Homer's dad, instead choosing to leave the room. When he returned, the writers had given him the name of Abraham, which coincidentally turned out to be the name of Groening's grandfather. Groening has also named his own sons Homer (who goes by Will) and Abe (which is the name of Grandpa Simpson). Other names, like other elements of the cartoon, are rife with obscure and not-so-obscure references to pop-culture for alert viewers to discover on their own.

Other character names

Groening grew up in Portland, Oregon, and seems to have found names for some characters from major Portland street names such as Flanders, Lovejoy, Powell, Quimby, and Terwilliger.


  • Both Groening and his character Bart Simpson are left handed. Other left handed characters on The Simpsons include Ned Flanders.
  • In college, Groening sometimes took notes in class in the form of comic strips.


A popular legend in the U.S. Navy's nuclear program is that Groening is a former Navy nuclear operator. The story also claims that the character of Mr. Burns is based on Admiral Rickover, and that the inspiration for the Ned Flanders character came from a former commander of a moored training ship prototype unit in Charleston, South Carolina.

External links


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