In late April in Portland, Oregon, the real Marge Simpson passed away at age 94.
Allow us to explain. Margaret Groening was the mother of Matt Groening, the cartoonist who created the comic strip Life in Hell, and later, when he didn’t want to sell the TV rights to Life in Hell, an animated family sitcom called The Simpsons, which you may know as one of the longest-running and universally beloved entertainments of all time.
Groening reportedly came up with the idea for the show while waiting to meet with a TV producer, and peppered it with very personal references to his own family and upbringing:
- Homer Simpson was named after his father, Homer Groening
- Marge Simpson was named after his mother, Margaret Groening
- Margaret Groening’s maiden name was Wiggum, the namesake of Springfield’s police chief.
- Margaret had an older sister named Patty…as does Marge.
- Besides Matt, the Groenings had three other children, including two daughters named Lisa and Maggie.
But the similarities to the character go even deeper. Margaret Groening and Marge Simpson were both extremely good high school students—Marge was a star on the debate team, while Margaret Groening was named high school valedictorian at Everett High School in Washington in 1937.
She did, however, at any time sport a blue beehive hairdo.