Norman Bridwell Dead: Clifford the Big Red Dog Creator Dies at 86

Norman Bridwell
Norman Bridwell has died at the age of 86. Stephen Rose/Liaison/Getty Images

All dogs go to heaven! Norman Bridwell, the creator of Clifford the Big Red Dog, has died at the age of 86. 

The beloved author passed away on Friday, Dec. 12, in Martha's Vineyard, Mass., his publisher Scholastic wrote in a release. Bridwell wrote more than 150 titles with the book company, largely centered on his famed character Clifford. 

In Bridwell's celebrated children's books, the oversized red dog belongs to a little girl named Emily Elizabeth and grows from the smallest in his litter to a massive pup the size of a house. 

Introduced in 1963 with his namesake story, Clifford's tale evolved over the next 50 years, as he took adventures to Hollywood and the circus, celebrated Christmas and his birthday, and learned lessons including manners and the value of friendship.

"Norman Bridwell’s books about Clifford, childhood’s most loveable dog, could only have been written by a gentle man with a great sense of humor," Chairman, President and CEO of Scholastic Dick Robinson said in a release. "Norman personified the values that we as parents and educators hope to communicate to our children – kindness, compassion, helpfulness, gratitude – through the Clifford stories which have been loved for more than fifty years."

Bridwell, who was born in Indiana in 1928, is survived by his wife of 56 years, Norma Bridwell, the couple's daughter Emily Elizabeth and son Timothy, as well as three grandchildren. 

After selling 129 million books in 13 languages during his lifetime, Bridwell's legacy will live on in the coming months. He penned two Clifford books, Clifford Goes to Kindergarten and Clifford Celebrates Hanukkah, which will see release in 2015, and a feature film about the big red dog is expected to hit theaters from Universal Pictures in April 2016. 

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