James Edward Marshall (October 10, 1942 – October 13, 1992), who also wrote as Edward Marshall, was a children's author and illustrator.
His father worked on the railroad, was a band member in the 1930s, and his mother sang in the local church choir. His family later moved to Beaumont, Texas. Marshall said: "Beaumont is deep south and swampy and I hated it. I knew I would die if I stayed there so I diligently studied the viola, and eventually won a scholarship to the New England Conservatory in Boston." He entered the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, but injured his hand, ending his music career. He returned to Texas, where he attended San Antonio College, and later transferred to Southern Connecticut State University where he received degrees in French and history.
It is said that he discovered his vocation on a 1971 summer afternoon, lying on a hammock drawing. His mother was watching Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and the main characters, George and Martha, ultimately became characters in one of his children's books. Marshall continued as a children's author until his untimely death in 1992 of a brain tumor. In 1998, George and Martha became the basis of an eponymous animated children's television show.
In addition to George and Martha, the lovable hippopotami, James Marshall created dozens of other uniquely appealing characters. He is well-known for his Fox series (which he wrote as "Edward Marshall"), as well as the Miss Nelson books, the Stupids, the Cut-ups, and many more. James Marshall had the uncanny ability to elicit wild delight from readers with relatively little text and simple drawings. With only two minute dots for eyes, his illustrated characters are able to express a wide range of emotion, and produce howls of laughter from both children and adults.