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A sand sculpture depicting the Grinch.

The Grinch is a fictional character created by Dr. Seuss. He first appeared as the main protagonist in the 1957 children's book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

The devious, anti-holiday spirit of the character has led to the term Grinch coming to refer to a person opposed to Christmas time celebrations[1][2][3] or to someone with a coarse, greedy attitude.[4] In fact, a document in the live-action film (the Book of Who) stated that "The term Grinchy shall apply when Christmas spirit is in short supply".

The Grinch has since become an icon of the winter holidays, despite the character's hatred of the season, and has appeared on various forms of memorabilia such as Christmas ornaments, plush dolls, Halloween costumes, and various clothing items.

In 2002, TV Guide ranked The Grinch number 5 on its "50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time" list.[5]


Character description

Although the animated film and all subsequent visual media depict the Grinch as green with creme colored eyes, in the original Seuss book he, like everything else, is printed in black, white, and shades of red, his appearance is mainly described to look like a giant, green, mutated chimpanzee. He lives in an isolated cave near Whoville, the town in which the original story takes place. His only companion is his faithful dog, Max (a Redbone Coonhound). He despises the Christmas holiday because his heart is "two sizes too small", and hatches a plan to steal the Whos' Christmas gifts and decorations, an act for which he disguises himself in a Santa suit.

In the film versions, the Grinch appears to possess a number of superhuman powers. He is able to lift a sleigh loaded with Whoville's entire supply of presents himself, with the strength "of ten Grinches, plus two." Though the animated special explains this as the Grinch influenced merely by Christmas spirit and his enlarged heart, the live film alludes to the notion that the Grinch was already incredibly strong. As a child, he was shown lifting a Christmas tree over his head and throwing it across the room. He also most likely carved out most of his cave with his bare hands, as the entrance was a rock wall when he was a child. The film also presents a number of other powers. These include his humanly impossible leaps, his inhuman accuracy (shown when throwing letters), his horrible breath, and an implied ability to be able to survive in the cold with little or no protection. He was also shown to be able to consume glass and pottery harmlessly, and seemed to very much enjoy consuming these. He also apparently made soup from toxic sludge. Also in the live-action film, the reason why the Grinch hated Christmas so much was due to a traumatizing childhood memory as an 8-year-old when most of his classmates made fun of him because of his beard when he tried to shave it to look his best during one Christmas Day. The mocking laughter of the classmates made the Grinch so angry that he started to take out his rage against the classroom, scaring the classmates away and declaring that he hates Christmas before running away to live in the top of the mountain.


The Grinch first appeared in the 1957 story How the Grinch Stole Christmas, written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss, published as both a Random House book and in an issue of Redbook magazine. Almost a decade later in 1966, the story was adapted into a popular animated television special of the same name, which was directed by Chuck Jones. Boris Karloff serves as both the story's narrator and the voice of the Grinch.

In 1977, Seuss responded to the fan request for more Grinch tales by writing Halloween Is Grinch Night, a Halloween special that aired on ABC. This was followed in 1982, when Marvel green-lit The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat, which was also produced by Dr. Seuss (though under his real name, Ted Geisel). Although not as successful as the original, the two spin-offs both received Emmy Awards. Several episodes of the 1996 Nick Jr. television show The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss featured the Grinch, this time in puppet form, a rare screen appearance for the character without being animated or illustrated.

A 2000 live-action feature film based on the story, directed by Ron Howard[6] and starring Jim Carrey in the title role, was a major financial success,[7] though it received many mixed reviews and holds a 53% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[8] A video game based on the film, simply entitled The Grinch was released on several consoles and PC in the same year. It was followed in 2007 with the release of a Nintendo DS version that went under the full title of the movie.

The Grinch was portrayed on the stage when the story was turned into a musical by the Children's Theater Company out of Minneapolis. The show made it to Broadway by way of a limited run in 2006, with Patrick Page playing the Grinch.

In mediums of television and cinema, the Grinch has been played or voiced by five actors. For the three animated adaptations, three actors were used: Boris Karloff in the original 1966 short, Hans Conried in Halloween is Grinch Night, and Bob Holt in The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat (all three of them would die shortly after the production of their respective specials and would be unable to reprise the role). Anthony Asbury portrayed The Grinch in The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss, and Jim Carrey did so in the 2000 film adaptation.

The Grinch appears in the Psych episode "The Polarizing Express." During Shawn Spencer's first dream sequence, the Grinch can be briefly glimpsed outside the office window, stealing presents from passers-by.

The Grinch was referenced in the movie Friday After Next. At Craig and Day-Day's rent party, the character Pinky arrives and states that "I was just going to get drunk and watch the Grinch!"

The Grinch also appears in Glee in the episode "A Very Glee Christmas". The Grinch was played by Sue Sylvester, who seeks revenge on Will Schuester, who stole all of her secret "Santa scam" present. Sue then dresses herself like the Grinch and dresses one of her students, Becky Johnson, as Max. She enters the choir room and destroys the glee club Christmas tree and all the music sheets. After trashing the choir room, she encounters Britanny, who believes that she is Santa Claus. Sue explains that one of the lights on the tree is broken and she needs to take the tree back to the North Pole to be repaired.


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