Fred Lasswell started his career as a sports cartoonist for the Tampa Daily Times around 1928. His work attracted the attention of Billy DeBeck, creator of the newspaper strip 'Barney Google and Snuffy Smith', in 1933. Fred Lasswell became his assistant, aged 17, and took over the famous strip after DeBeck's death in 1942. During World War II, Fred Lasswell served as a flight radio operator and created the strip 'Sgt. Hashmark'.
Apart from working in comics, he was an inventor, coming up with a successful citrus fruit harvester, a technique to enable the blind to read comics, a bilingual laser disc and a hypercard stack for computers. He also produced a series of videos for children, called 'Draw and Color with Uncle Fred'. Fred Lasswell won many awards for his comic work, including a Reuben in 1964.
Fred Lasswell continued to write and draw 'Barney Google and Snuffy Smith' for over sixty years. Fred Lasswell died of a heart attack on 4 March 2001. On of his assistants, John Rose, took over this still very popular daily strip.
Pati Schlesinger wrote to Lambiek:
"In fact, on the day he died he was twelve weeks ahead on his strips; he finished his last video for kids and schools; he called his patent lawyer with a new invention for animating comics on the internet; he spent the evening remembering wonderful time; he went to bed in a high spirited mood and passed away in his sleep. A gentle death for a wonderful, genuine man who spent his life making millions of people laugh every day. He was the cartoonists' cartoonist and his colleagues honored him many times with every industry award, some of which they awarded him twice. He left us with a Charitable Foundation for "Learning and Laughter," which, since 2001 has worked on programs for nutrition, recreation, arts education and advocacy for kids and is working on developing some of his brilliant ideas for teacher learning aids."