John Callahan: biography, creativity, career, personal life

And from hopelessness began to draw with squished fingers at first insecure, and then more clearly and expressive, until one acquaintance told him that such masterpieces cannot be hide from people. And talked him into sending his drawings to a local newspaper. From then on, John Callaghan’s name became increasingly famous, and then he became famous.

In 2018 even released a film based on his autobiographical novel “Don’t worry, he won’t go far”, which made his name is famous all over the world.


Born John in 1951 in the American town of Dulles. Or rather, in this city his newborn was transferred to the house of the child, so he didn’t know his parents. His family are adoptive parents David and Rosemary Callahany, who owned grain elevators in Portland. In this town, John grew up and graduated. He had five adopted siblings. From an early age he was a drachun and a clobber, and here is still a traumatic situation, as Callahan writes in his autobiography: at his junior school age he was screwed by a nun of a Catholic school.

As a teenager he already tried alcohol and walked school. His parents couldn’t handle him and the youngster was given to himself: parties, bars, nightclubs. He worked casual jobs during the day and drank at night — such was his youth.

In 1972, there was the very accident that made John disabled. He and a friend were driving from the bar and the car crashed into a pole. The impact was of such force that both suffered concussions and severe injuries.

From then on, John could only hold small light items in his hands, and more often than not it was a glass of alcohol. Then he remembered that as a child he painted quite well, and began to bring out the first scribbles on the sheet with two hands. Gradually, this occupation took hold of him, especially as the caricatures got better and better.



artist’s career

, mostly his drawings were in the style of black humor, however they were so original that they were printed by local newspaper Willamette Week. And then the editor-in-chief himself came to his house to take a look at the author of such poignant cartoons. So Callahan became a full-time employee of the newspaper.

In the late nineties already over two hundred editions printed his drawings, and then he wrote his autobiography. And then it happened just incredible: the rights to film the biography of the disabled person was bought out by Robin Williams himself! True, he didn’t have time to shoot the picture, but director Gus van Sent did it.

In 2000, Nickelodeon Channel management conceived to make a cartoon based on Callahan’s drawings and he became executive producer of the animated series Pelswick. It ran from 2000 to 2002. So gradually the artist’s work gained recognition throughout the country.

Personal life

Despite his situation, John was always surrounded by friends because he possessed some inexplicable charm that drew people to him. And when he started working at the newspaper and later — life began to settle, he quit drinking and painted all the time.

Callahan died at the age of sixty from lung disease.

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