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Elzie Crisler Segar (December 8, 1894 – October 13, 1938) was an American cartoonist, best known as the creator of Popeye, a character who first appeared in 1929 in his newspaper comic strip Thimble Theatre.
Segar was born and raised in Chester, Illinois, a small town near the Mississippi River. The son of a handyman, his earliest work experiences included assisting his father in house painting and paper hanging. Skilled at playing drums, he also provided musical accompaniment to films and vaudeville acts in the local theater, where he was eventually given the job of film projectionist. At age 18, he decided to become a cartoonist. He worked hard on a correspondence course in cartooning from W.L. Evans, of Cleveland, Ohio, in which he had invested $20. He said that after work he "lit up the oil lamps about midnight and worked on the course until 3am."
Segar moved to Chicago where he met Richard Felton Outcault, creator of The Yellow Kid and Buster Brown. Outcault encouraged him and introduced him at the Chicago Herald. On March 12, 1916, the Herald published Segar's first comic, Charlie Chaplin's Comedy Capers, which ran for a little over a year. In 1918, he moved on to Hearst's Chicago Evening American where he created Looping the Loop. Segar married Myrtle Johnson that year; they had two children. He died at age 43 after a long illness.