Simon and Garfunkel met in grade school when they both appeared in a production of Alice in Wonderland. Paul was the White Rabbit and Art was the Cheshire Cat.
The duo began recording together in high school as Tom and Jerry, which was the name of a cartoon cat and mouse. They released a single in 1957 called "Hey Schoolgirl
," which made it to #49 on the charts - not bad for 16-year-olds.
Garfunkel has done some acting; he appeared in the movies Boxing Helena and 54, and was a guest star on the TV show Laverne & Shirley. His first acting role was in the 1970 movie Catch-22, which he filmed while Simon worked on the Bridge Over Troubled Water album. According to Simon, this was the first time they fought, as Paul felt abandoned working on the music.
Their albums as Simon & Garfunkel were released from 1964-1970, which coincides with The Beatles. They had just five studio albums, but reunited many times to perform live.
Their liberal views on the political and social landscape showed up in many of their songs, and when they created a TV special called Songs of America, which was directed by Charles Grodin, they learned that large parts of America did not share their views on peace and tolerance. The show's sponsor, AT&T, pulled out of the special, which showed footage of the Vietnam War and Martin Luther King's funeral. The show found a new sponsor - Alberto V05 - and aired in November, 1969. It got killed in the ratings by a Peggy Fleming ice skating show.
Art Garfunkel did some serious long-distance walking. He walked across much of Japan and parts of Europe, and would also walk around America every now and then starting in 1984. By the mid-'90s, he had made 41 long walks around the US, with cumulatively took him across the entire country. He told Mojo magazine in 2020:
"I do it in installments. I go out for a week to two, put on 150 miles, 20 a day, stay in these little motels, I have an assistant, Mikey, in a rented car to pick me up at the end of the day, and the day is mine and the Earth is mine. So I do about eight of those days. I take one day off, so I gain another 140 miles on a trek, and then come home, live my life, and later in the year I do another one of those, and there's two or three a year, all through the 80s, the 90s, the 00s."
Art Garfunkel worked as a math teacher in a private school in Connecticut in the early '70s after splitting from Paul Simon.
They got a big boost when their songs appeared in the 1967 movie The Graduate
. The film was directed by Mike Nichols, who cast the duo in his 1970 movie Catch-22
, but wrote out Simon's part, which separated the duo and led to their breakup. Nichols is often blamed for their demise, but according to Simon's biographer Peter Carlin, the split was inevitable. "They would have found other reasons to break up without Nichols, and they have, repeatedly, again and again ever since," he told Songfacts
When Simon and Garfunkel were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, Art Garfunkel thanked Paul Simon for enriching his life. Simon responded by saying, "Arthur and I agree about almost nothing. But it's true, I have enriched his life quite a bit." After three songs, the duo left without speaking.
When Simon was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist 11 years later, he thanked Garfunkel, saying: "I regret the ending of our friendship. I hope that some day before we die we will make peace with each other." He then paused before adding, "No rush."
According to the book Paul Simon The Life by David Frick, after seeing Simon and Garfunkel's live debut at Folk City in 1964, David Geffin, then working at the William Morris agency, told Garfunkel that he should stay in school.