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AutobiographyBiographyArticles Written about Syd
Syd's Life TimelineSyd Hoff aka A. RedfieldVideos
Fiction Short Stories by HoffFamily PhotosObituaries


Whether you’re seven or seventy, the chances are you’ve probably come in contact with one of his many books (150 plus), or cartoons that have appeared in over 200 magazines in the course of his lifetime, including Laugh it Off which was syndicated for 20 years.  His comic strip Tuffy, about a little girl who did funny things, was declared essential for national morale during WWII by William Randolph Hearst.

Regarded as one of the foremost and most prolific cartoonists, Syd contributed 571 cartoons to The New Yorker between 1931 and 1975.  He always said that the best humor comes from the familiar. Drawing on his own experiences, the immigrant Jewish population and the Depression became the arena of focus in which he managed to bring lightness and humor. “Even in tough times, everyone is waiting to be amused, to laugh, to smile,” Syd once said.

Trained as a serious painter (member of The National Academy in New York), yet inspired by the quirkiness of real life, his cartoons never stepped over the boundaries of decency and good taste as he celebrated the individual, triumphing over struggles of everyday life. According to Syd, “A good cartoon has got to remind people of something they’re faced with. They won’t laugh unless it’s something they’ve seen or experienced.” 

Syd has worked in diverse genres. He had the distinct honor of working with Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen as a contributor of short fiction writing. He was awarded national advertising commissions for large companies such as Chevrolet, Maxwell House Coffee and others. He had his own TV show (Tales of Hoff on CBS), traveled the world as entertainment on cruise ships and entertained children and teachers in schools and libraries across the country.

While Syd may be regarded as one of the great humorists of the 20th Century, in the eyes of children he will always be celebrated and remembered as the author of Danny and the Dinosaur, Sammy the Seal and many more. Imagination, humor and simplicity are hallmarks of Syd’s work. “I like to make kids laugh.  A lot of people think it’s easy to write for children, but children are critical and have their own requirements.  They know immediately whether a book is ‘real’ or not.  It can be fantasy, but it must be believable,” Syd said in a 1982 newspaper article.  He has also written books with historical themes, as in Boss Tweed and the Man Who Drew Him (about Thomas Nast, political cartoonist) and The Man Who Loved Animals (about Henry Bergh, founder of SPCA).

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© 2012