Patrick Oliphant was born in Adelaide, Australia in 1935. After working for the Adelaide Advertiser, he moved to the United States in 1964 and joined the Denver Post. After winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1967, Oliphant moved to the Washington Star.
An outspoken liberal, Oliphant has argued: "Nothing is better than humour becomes an end in itself and the pacing isn't varied to the demands of the day, the message is horribly weakened, if not nullified. I see dismaying sameness settling over cartooning again - funny cartooning for the sake of skirting an issue."