Thurber was born in Columbus, Ohio. He joined the staff of The New Yorker in 1927 and continued to contribute to the magazine through the 1950s.
Due to a childhood injury, Thurber suffered from very poor eyesight and his eyes grew weaker as he grew older. He drew his cartoons on very large sheets of paper using a thick black crayon, giving them an eerie, wobbly feel that seems to mirror Thurber's idiosyncratic view on life. Many of his short stories are humorous fictional memoirs from his life, but he also wrote darker material.
"The Dog Who Bit People" and "The Night the Bed Fell on My Father" are among his best best short stories; they can be found in My Life and Hard Times. Also notable, and often anthologized, are "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty", "The Greatest Man in the World" and "If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomattox", which can be found in The Thurber Carnival.
A network television show based on Thurber's writings and life, entitled My World and Welcome To It was broadcast 1969 to 1970.
Thurber died at age 66 in New York City.
Biographies of Thurber include Remember Laughter: A Life of James Thurber by Neil A. Grauer, and James Thurber: His Life and Times by Harrison Kinney.
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