Billy DeBeck studied at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, and he went to work for magazines and newspapers like Show World, Youngstown Telegram and Gazete-Times afterwards. In 1914, he got a chance to work for the prestigious Chicago Herald, where he launched his first comic strips, 'Married Life', 'Tom Rover' and 'Haphazard Helen'.
In 1917, when the newspaper was forced out of business by the Chicago Tribune, DeBeck began working as a sports cartoonist for the Examiner. It was there that he created his famous 'Barney Google', a strip about a born loser with great difficulty in adjusting to life. Its popularity took DeBeck to New York, where he worked on the strip as a nationally syndicated sports page feature. DeBeck added the topper 'Parlor, Bedroom & Sink', and filled the cast with Barney's horse Spark Plug and eventually Snuffy Smith, who took over the leading role later on. Barney Google was immortalized in Billy Rose's hit song 'Barney Google with the Goo-Goo-Googly Eyes'. When DeBeck died in 1942, the strip was continued by his assistant, Fred Lasswell.