Duncan Macpherson was born in Toronto, Canada, on 20 September 1924. He attended the North Toronto Collegiate Institute, and after graduation served in the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1942 to 1946. While serving in England he began to study art, and on demobilisation in 1946 he enrolled at the Boston Museum School of Art, Massachusets USA, and from 1948 to 1950 studied at the Ontario College of Art, Canada.
In 1950 MacPherson turned full-time freelance cartoonist and illustrator, contributing to the Christian Science Monitor, Montreal Standard and Maclean's magazine amongst others, and also illustrating Eaton's mail-order catalogues. In 1958 he became political cartoonist of the Toronto Daily Star and his work was subsequently syndicated worldwide. In 1964, while visiting Britain, he was guest cartoonist on the Daily Express, and the paper's proprietor, Lord Beaverbrook, offered him the chance to replace Vicky as cartoonist on the Evening Standard. However, Macpherson refused and Vicky remained.
Macpherson won the Canadian National Newspaper Award six times, received the Royal Canadian Academy Medal in 1966 for distinguished work in the visual arts, and in 1971 received the Canada Council's Molson Prize for his contribution to the arts in Canada. MacPherson died in 1993.