Otto James Messmer (August 16, 1892 – October 28, 1983) was an American animator, best known for his work on the Felix the Cat cartoons and comic strip produced by the Pat Sullivan studio.
The extent of Messmer’s role in the creation and popularity of Felix is a matter of ongoing dispute, particularly as he only laid his claim to the character after the death of Sullivan, who until that time had received the credit. However, most prominent comics and animation historians support Messmer’s claim, as do the veterans of the Sullivan studio.
Messmer was born August 16, 1892 in West Hoboken, New Jersey (now Union City). He attended Holy Family Parochial School. He had a love of vaudeville and the entertainment industry instilled in him by his parents and teachers beginning at a young age. He attended the Thomas School of Art in New York City from 1911–1913, and participated in a work-study program with the Acme Agency, where he did illustrations for fashion catalogs.