Thomas Jefferson Machamer was born in Holdredge, Nebraska, in 1901 (other sources say 1899). He graduated from the Nebraska University and got a job at the Kansas City Star afterwards. He worked there as a staff artist until 1922. In addition, he had started selling cartoons to publications like Cartoons Magazine in the 1910s. He eventually settled in New York City, where he began a collaboration with the New York Tribune before joining the art staff of Judge magazine around 1924.
His drawings of beautiful girls made him one of the staples of the magazine. He drew color covers and cartoons, and made 'High Hat', a gossip feature written by Norman Anthony and later by himself. Machamer contributed to Judge and other magazines until the early 1930s, but from 1928, he was also making several comic strips. His strip 'Patty the Playful', which later became 'Petting Patty', was syndicated by King Features in 1928-1929. The Sunday page was accompanied by the topper 'Past Performances'.
In 1932, he began his famous 'Gags and Gals' page in the New York Mirror. In this Sunday feature, which lasted until 1937, he showed the exchanges between attractive young women and unattractive older men, including a caricature of the artist himself. Around 1937, Machamer had also created some gag strips like 'Nifties' and 'Simple Sylvia'. He moved to California around 1940, where he came up with the family strip 'Hollywood Husband'. He also created 'The Baffles' in the Los Angeles Times. Machamer continued to work as a magazine cartoonist throughout the 1940s and 1950s. His last comics work was the gag panel 'Today's Laugh', which ran from 1948 to 1960.
Machamer was also a writer and actor for films. Between 1935 and 1938 he starred in a series of 20 mintute surreal comedies, produced by Al Christie's studio Educational Pictures Inc, the short comedy unit for 20th Century Fox. He was married to actress Pauline Moore.