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Gary Gygax

Gary GygaxAKA Ernest Gary Gygax

Born: 27-Jul-1938
Birthplace: Chicago, IL
Died: 4-Mar-2008
Location of death: Lake Geneva, WI
Cause of death: Natural Causes
Remains: Cremated (ashes in wife's possession)

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Inventor, Novelist, Business

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons

Game creator and fantasy author Gary Gygax began playing games when he was about five years old checkers, chess, poker, etc and eventually became intrigued by the speculative fiction of Ray Bradbury, Robert E. Howard, and Jack Vance. He dropped out of high school, and by his late teens he began playing a Civil War-based board game called Gettysburg. From that point, he was always an avid gamer.

During the years before his fame and success, Gygax supported himself by selling insurance, running a mail order shoe repair business from his home, and doing low-paid work for small gamemaking companies. In 1966 he co-founded the International Federation of Wargamers, which held its first meeting in his basement, an event which has since evolved into Gen Con, an annual gathering of gamers.

In 1970, collaborating with game store owner Jeff Perren, he wrote the rules for Chainmail, and in 1973, in partnership with his childhood friend Don Kaye, he founded Tactical Studies Rules (later called TSR Hobbies). With help from Dave Arneson (1947-2009) in 1973 and '74, Gygax created a pen, pencil, and dice roleplaying adventure they first called The Fantasy Game. It was released by TSR in 1974 under its now-familiar name, Dungeons & Dragons, with a first edition press run of 1,000 copies, but with players adopting characters and using polyhedral dice to determine the sprawling storyline, D&D soon became the first role-playing game to become popular beyond hard-core gaming hobbyists and science fiction geeks. And of course, in the grand tradition of things that are new and fun, controversies raged over such absurdities as the game's perceived "demonic" influence, the partial nudity of game characters as illustrated in the rule book, and its purported negative influence on youth.

By 1975, Gygax was able to quit his non-gaming work to assume the title of President at TSR Hobbies. In 1983, he left TSR to head a spinoff enterprise, TSR Entertainment (later Dungeons & Dragons Entertainment), which sold TSR's games to Hollywood, and produced the cartoon series Dungeons & Dragons, which ran for three seasons. Gygax designed numerous other games including Boot Hill (1975), Little Big Horn (1976), Dragon Chess (1985), Dangerous Journeys (1992) and Lejendary [sic] Adventures (1999), and wrote several popular fantasy novels and short stories, sometimes using the pen name Garrison Ernst.

D&D, of course, eventually evolved into a series of video games, and with or without formal credit the spirit of Dungeons & Dragons has clearly inspired countless video games that center on sorcery and swordplay. Gygax's company, TSR, was purchased in 1997 by Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro. Despite fading health, the original Dungeon Master continued hosting weekly game nights at his home in Wisconsin until about two months before his death in 2008, at the age of 69.

Father: Ernest Gygax (engineer, b. 1884, d. 1956)
Wife: Mary Jo Powell (m. 1958)
Son: Ernest G. Gygax, Jr.
Son: Lucion Paul Gygax ("Luke")
Daughter: Heidi Jo Gygax
Daughter: Cindy Lee Gygax
Daughter: Mary Elise Gygax ("Elise")
Wife: Gail Carpenter Gygax (m. 15-Aug-1987)
Son: Alexander Hugh Hamilton Gygax (b. 2-Aug-1986)

    Hekaforge Productions Partner (1999-2004)
    Trigee Enterprises Author (1994-99)
    Omega Helios Ltd Author (1988-94)
    New Infinities Productions President (1986-88)
    Hasbro President, TSR Entertainment (1983-85)
    Hasbro President, TSR Hobbies (1975-83)
    Hasbro Co-Founder & Partner, Tactical Studies Rules (1973-75)
    Guidon Games Editor-in-Chief (1970-73)
    Simulations Publications, Inc. Game Designer (1960s)
    Avalon Hill Game Designer (1960s)
    Charles S. Roberts Award 1980
    Adventure Gaming Hall of Fame 2004
    Stroke 1-Apr-2004
    Stroke 4-May-2004
    Aneurysm abdominal aortic
    Hobby Industry Association of America
    International Federation of Wargamers Co-Founder (1966)
    Swiss Ancestry Paternal
    Risk Factors: Obesity, Smoking

Author of books:
Official Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Unearthed Arcana (1985, game guide)
Saga of Old City (1985, novel, "Greyhawk" series)
Artifact of Evil (1986, novel, "Greyhawk" series)
Sea of Death (1987, novel; "Gord the Rogue" series)
Night Arrant (1987, short stories, "Gord the Rogue" series)
City of Hawks (1987, novel, "Gord the Rogue" series")
Come Endless Darkness (1988, novel, "Gord the Rogue" series)
Dance of Demons (1988, novel, "Gord the Rogue" series)
The Anubis Murders (1992, novel, "Mythus" series)
The Necropolis and the Land of Egypt (1992, novel, "Mythus" series)
The Samarkand Solution (1993, novel, "Mythus" series)
Death in Delhi (1993, novel; "Mythus" series)
Castle Zagyg, Part I: Yggsburgh (2004, novel)
Gary Gygax's Extraordinary Book of Names (2004, gaming)
Gary Gygax's Insidiae (2004, gaming)
Gary Gygax's Castle Zagyg (2005, gaming)
Gary Gygax's Essential Places (2005, gaming)
Gary Gygax's Nation Builder (2005, gaming, with Michael Varhola)
Gary Gygax's Living Fantasy (2006, gaming)
Infernal Sorceress (2008, novel, "Mythus" series, posthumous)


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