Robert Ripley (December 25, 1890 - May 27, 1949) was an entrepreneur, an anthropologist and a cartoonist who created the world famous Ripley's Believe It or Not! series. Born in Santa Rosa, California, he was an aspiring professional baseball player until he was injured in 1913, the same year his first cartoon appeared in a newspaper. During his life, Ripley had visited 201 countries by his death, collecting info, and strange oddities to appear in his columns and cartoons. Because of his journeys, many dubbed him the "modern Marco Polo".
Ripley, in 1949, began televising a special. He only completed a mere 13 episodes, however, as he became incapacitated by severe health, and before this, had passed out during the filming of his final show. His health became worse, and on 27 May, at the age of 58, died as the result of a heart attack. His ideas and his legacy lives on in a company which bears his namesake, which airs national television shows, and features publications of Ripley's so-called "oddities". He is buried in his hometown of Santa Rosa. The Church of the One Tree, a church built entirely from the wood of a single 300 foot tall redwood tree, and made popular by Ripley, stands on the north side of Juilliard Park in downtown Santa Rosa.
Some called Ripley a liar, and accused him of exaggerating, but Ripley, throughout the years and in his claims, gave appropriate sources, and also claimed to be able to "prove every statement he made".
He will be played by Jim Carrey in the 2007 film Believe It or Not.