Happy Anniversary to Tank McNamara, who celebrates 35 years in syndication today! Congratulations, Jeff and Bill!
Jeff Millar was born in Pasadena, Texas, and grew up in League City, Texas, a then-small town between Houston and Galveston. He graduated from the University of Texas and went to work for the Houston Chronicle in 1964 as film critic. He added a humor column in 1972.
Bill Hinds was born and raised in Houston, Texas. He received a degree in fine arts from Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas, and returned to Houston to seek his fortune as a cartoonist.
Millar and Hinds met in 1973 when Millar — who can't draw stick figures — went out looking for a collaborator for a comic strip about sports. Tank McNamara began syndication through Universal Press Syndicate in August 1974. The strip is beloved by sports fans and attracts thousands of nominations from readers each year for its annual Sports Jerk of the Year competition.
Both Millar and Hinds have interests outside of Tank McNamara. Millar's play, "Icehouse," adapted from characters recurring in his column, was produced by Houston's Stages Repertory Theatre. Another play, "The Rice," based on a true story occurring in Houston's most historic (and now-vanished) hotel, was produced by Houston's Main Street Theater. In 1989, Hinds created for Sports Illustrated for Kids the character of a pint-sized attack TV journalist named Buzz Beamer. Buzz continues to be one of the magazine's most popular features. Hinds also creates the soccer-themed comic strip Cleats.
Millar retired from the Chronicle in 2000. Childless except for his creations, he has been married since 1994 to Peg Millar, who teaches middle school. Bill and Lisa Hinds are the parents of Hannah, Gracie and Sam.