was an American
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
humorist, best remembered for creating the character Mr. Arbuthnot the Cliche
A cliché or cliche is an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has been overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel. In phraseology, the term has taken on a more technical meaning,...
Sullivan was born in Saratoga Springs, New York in 1892 and graduated from Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...
in 1914. He worked for The Saratogian
The Saratogian is a broadsheet-style daily newspaper published in Saratoga Springs, New York, United States. The paper has been published regularly since 1855. It covers all of Saratoga County, New York and specifically the city of Saratoga Springs....
newspaper until he was drafted in 1917. Upon his discharge Sullivan moved to New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...
and worked for several papers as a reporter and feature writer.
Sullivan wrote his first article for The New Yorker
The New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons and poetry published by Condé Nast...
in 1926, the year after it was founded. His most celebrated character, Mr. Arbuthnot, created in 1934, made his debut in the issue of August 31, 1935 in The Cliche Expert Takes The Stand
. In one story Mt. Arbuthnot was asked what he did for exercise, and he replied, “I keep the wolf from the door, let the cat out of the bag, take the bull by the horns, count my chickens before they are hatched, and see that the horse isn’t put behind the cart or stolen before I lock the barn door".
The last Mr. Arbuthnot story, The Cliche Expert Testifies On The Campaign
, appeared in The New Yorker on September 13, 1952.
Sullivan never married. He returned to Saratoga Springs in the 1960's and lived there until his death in 1976.
Sullivan was a peripheral member of the famous Algonquin Round Table
The Algonquin Round Table was a celebrated group of New York City writers, critics, actors and wits. Gathering initially as part of a practical joke, members of "The Vicious Circle", as they dubbed themselves, met for lunch each day at the Algonquin Hotel from 1919 until roughly 1929...
He is credited with the line, "“This is either a forgery or a damned clever original!”.