Gary Larson (born August 14, 1950) is the creator of The Far Side, a single-panel cartoon series that was syndicated internationally to newspapers for 15 years. The series ended with Larson's retirement on January 1, 1995. His 23 books of collected cartoons have combined sales of more than 45 million copies.
Larson was born and raised in University Place, Washington. His parents are Verner, a car salesman, and Doris, a secretary. He attended Curtis Senior High School before attending Washington State University, from which he graduated in 1972 with a degree in communications. In 1987, Larson married Toni Carmichael, an anthropologist and 1972 Safford High School alumna.
Larson credits his older brother, Dan, for his "paranoid" sense of humor. Dan pulled countless pranks on Gary, taking advantage of his phobia of monsters under the bed by waiting in the closet for the right moment to pounce. He is also credited for nurturing Gary's love of science. They caught animals in Puget Sound and placed them in terrariums in the basement, even making a small desert ecosystem. Larson's use of snakes in his cartoons stems from his long-standing interest in herpetology. Dan died of cancer in 1991.