Clifford Creator Dies at 86

Norman Bridwell, the author/illustrator of the Clifford the Big Red Dog children’s books died on Dec. 12 at the age of 86. 

April 6, 2018

Clifford Creator Dies at 86

Bridwell created the Clifford in 1963 and went on to write and illustrate more than 150 titles, all published by Scholastic. One hundred twenty-nine million Clifford books are currently in print in 13 languages.

“Norman Bridwell’s books about Clifford, childhood’s most loveable dog, could only have been written by a gentle man with a great sense of humor,” says Dick Robinson, chairman, president and chief executive officer, Scholastic. “The magic of the character and stories Norman created with Clifford is that children can see themselves in this big dog who tries very hard to be good, but is somewhat clumsy and always bumping into things and making mistakes. At Scholastic, we are deeply saddened by the loss of our loyal and talented friend whose drawings and stories have inspired all of us.”

Born in Kokomo, Ind., in 1928, Bridwell moved to New York, where struggled to

enter the publishing world. His Clifford manuscript was turned down by nine publishers before landing at Scholastic, where it remained for more than 50 years. Clifford was originally to be called Tiny, but Bridwell’s wife of 56 years, Norma, instead suggested Clifford after her childhood imaginary friend. The character Emily Elizabeth is named after the Bridwell’s daughter. 

Norman Bridwell is survived by his wife, Norma, their daughter, Emily Elizabeth, son, Timothy, and three grandchildren. Before his death, Bridwell had completed two more Clifford books, which will be released in 2015–

Clifford Goes to Kindergarten

in May and

Clifford Celebrates Hanukkah

in October.

Check out this video of Bridwell discussing Clifford on the character's 50th anniversary:

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