Hey Arnold Wiki


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Character on Hey Arnold!
OccupationFourth-grade student
FamilyFather Miles
Paternal Grandfather Phil
Parental Grandmother "Pookie" Gertrude
Paternal Grand-Aunt Mitzi
Paternal Grand-Uncle Phil
Paternal Grandpa's father
Paternal Grandpa's grandfather
Paternal Grandpa's mother
Paternal Uncle Unnamed
Aunt Unknown
Paternal Cousins Sons of Unnamed
Mother Stella
Maternal Grandfather Arnold
Maternal Cousin Arnie
Best friendsGerald
RelationshipsCrush on:
Miss Felter
Mary Margaret
Possible crush:
Voiced byJ.D. Daniels (1994)
Toran Caudell (1996-1997)
Phillip Van Dyke (1997-1999)
Spencer Klein (1999-2002)
Rusty Flood (Baby Arnold)
Alex Linz (2002)

Arnold is the protagonist of the Nickelodeon animated television series Hey Arnold!.

His head is shaped like a giant football, thus earning him the nickname "Football Head"


Arnold was created in 1986 by Craig Bartlett, who was also responsible for the clay-animated Penny shorts on CBS's Pee Wee's Playhouse. The original Arnold was visualized as a kid with a vivid imagination, who always wore a prep-school uniform (though he attended public school) and his signature cap, and was rendered in clay in a series of shorts, one of them televised in the 1990s on Sesame Street, and continued to air there, even after the Nick version debuted.

In 1991, the Hey Arnold comic stories, written and drawn by Bartlett (who's also a comic book artist), were published in Simpsons Illustrated magazine (Bartlett is the brother-in-law of Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons).

The familiar, cel-animated Arnold came about in the mid-1990s when Nick picked up the new series. Apart from the animation style, Nick's Arnold now wears a sweater, with his plaid shirt untucked (resembling a kilt). Only Arnold's beloved cap remained from the original wardrobe.


Arnold was born in San Lorenzo, in a temple of the mysterious Green-Eyed People during a volcanic eruption. His birth "silenced all of nature" and the volcano.

According to the episode "The Journal", Arnold was born while his parents were on an earlier expedition in the jungle to bring medicine to the natives. His birth coincided with the eruption of a nearby volcano, which the locals believed to be an indication that Arnold would one day become a messiah of sorts who would save the world from a great danger. Arnold was not told of these events until later in the series when it was revealed by his grandfather. It is unknown how the "prophecy" may have fit into the series had it continued.

In a chat, Craig Bartlett mentioned that he was supposed to be semi-worshiped by the Green-Eyed people, and that a football-headed figure is an important symbol for their culture.

He was born on the 7th day of an unknown month ("Married"). Some fans agree that he was born on October 7th, the day the first episode of the series aired for the first time. But that would create a flaw on the history, since Arnold's parents left him on October 5th, and they celebrated his 1st birthday some time before leaving the Boarding House once and for all. Though others believe that Arnold's parents may have disappeared before his second birthday.

Additionally, in a logged chat Craig Bartlett said, "...Arnold is like me in that he has to think things over a long time, before coming to a decision. That I believe is a Libra characteristic. Go Libras." (See the chat transcript) This implies Arnold being a Libra, which would make his birthday fall sometime between September 24th to October 23rd.


Arnold is a fourth grader who lives in a boarding house with his paternal grandparents, Phil and Gertrude, the parents of Arnold's lost father. According to the "Parents Day" and "The Journal" episodes, Arnold's adventurous parents, anthropologist Miles and botanist Stella, were doing missions in the jungle of San Lorenzo when they disappeared.


Arnold is a dreamer and an idealist who always tries to see the best in people and to do the right thing. Whenever he sees someone in trouble, Arnold goes out of his way to help them out, even if it is not sensible to do so (an example being when he tried to protect some of his classmates, who had mooned the school principal). Arnold often acts as the stable center to those around him, whether he is around his "family" in his paternal grandparents' boarding house the Sunset Arms, or around his friends at his school, P.S. 118.

He has a love for music, particularly jazz. He is seen in one episode discussing with his friends various sound systems, owning himself, an advanced sound system. He also taught himself to play harmonica and has played it a few times throughout Seasons 1 and 2. His room contains interesting technology such as a remote control that controls everything in his room, a powerful computer and a collapsible couch. His entire ceiling comprises several skylights as well.

Arnold is also good at sports playing both baseball and American football with his friends at Gerald Field.

Arnold also had skills in video editing as demonstrated in the episode "Freeze Frame" and in the final third of Hey Arnold!: The Movie.


Over the course of the series, Arnold has had a handful of voice actors. In the pilot, Arnold's voice was provided by JD Daniels, though when the series came to fruition, Daniels was not brought on. During season 1 and What's Opera, Arnold? Toran Caudell provided the voice of Arnold, though he left the show after the first season due to his voice changing, then soon after returned as his rival, Wolfgang (though some of Caudell's work as Arnold became part of the second and third seasons). Phillip Van Dyke was brought on as the voice of Arnold for the second season, and part of the third season. Late in season 3, Spencer Klein started voicing Arnold, and continued to provide his voice all the way through season 5 (including the theatrical movie based on the show), though in April Fools Day and The Journal featured Alex D. Linz as the voice of Arnold instead.



Arnold has had two major crushes in the series: sixth-grader Ruth P. McDougal (through most of season 1), and with a classmate named Lila Sawyer (who was introduced in season 2). His crush with Ruth ended in Arnold's Valentine when after going on a date with her, he decided that she was not really interesting and came to realize he never knew much about her himself, and his crush on Lila ended when she didn't approve of him stopping his hanging out with his best friend Gerald's younger sister, Timberly in Timberly Loves Arnold. In the episode Crush On Teacher Arnold develops a crush on his substitute teacher Miss Felter and Arnold thought she had a crush on him too. The crush on her ended at the end of the episode when Arnold found out that Miss Felter didn't actually have a crush on him and it was just a misunderstanding.

Arnold's most catalytic relationship is with his classmate Helga Pataki. Unbeknownst to Arnold, Helga is secretly in love with him, though to keep these feelings secret she verbally abuses Arnold so he will never come to that conclusion. As such, Arnold has a more or less, tolerant feeling towards Helga. He states throughout the series that even though she acts bad she really is a good person. Good examples of this are shown in Married, near the end of Arnold's dream when he confronts Helga, and Helga vs. Big Patty whereby Arnold explains to Patty that the reason Helga is mean is that she's insecure of her own feelings hoping she won't beat Helga up. Also in "Big Sis" we see that after Helga's attempts at foiling Olga and Lila's newly found sisterhood fail, Arnold tells Helga that she must be either "crazy or extremely jealous." Yet in "Summer Love" after Helga is found to be behind all the misfortunes that happened to Arnold and his new love interest Summer, Arnold confronts Helga by saying, "if you're done being mean to me and Summer for no apparent reason..." This may hint at the fact that he is in denial of his true feelings for Helga, due to her outer mean nature. Arnold has said he likes Helga when she is nice multiple times throughout the show. As noted by episodes, "It Girl", "Helga's Masquerade", "Dinner for Four", and especially "Arnold Visits Arnie" where he likes the alternate universe Hilda (who is really just Helga without her mean front that she puts up). Another episode where his emotions are shown ever so slightly is in "The Flood"; when Helga falls out the window, he miserably yells "Noo!", while Helga calls his name "Arnold!"

In the movie, Arnold finds out that Deep Voice, a stranger who helps Gerald and him throughout the movie, is actually Helga. This surprising him as her father would make a lot of money from the demolition of their home town, making her rich. So after constantly questioning her, Helga tells Arnold of her feelings for him and she kisses him. Later on at the end of the movie the two of them agree it was all just in the "heat of the moment".

According to series creator Craig Bartlett, had the canceled "Jungle Adventure" sequel been animated, Arnold would've returned Helga's feelings with a kiss of his own, with his best friend interrupting the moment. The two would've also dated prior to the proposed, but ultimately aborted MTV spin-off The Patakis, where they would've broken up, though they were to remain friends, with Helga sending Arnold letters of her life in a new location. Considering The Patakis was canceled, it remains unclear whenever or not this development remains canonical.

Craig Bartlett has confirmed on several occassions that Arnold and Helga are meant for each other, and that they do end up together, get married, and have children. He has hinted at it through out the series as well, and pointed out at the end of the episode "Married" when Phoebe's imagining what Arnold and Helga's future might be like together, that it never fades back to Phoebe, hinting that its real.


Arnold's best friend is Gerald Johanssen, whose relationship dates as far back as pre-school. The pair have a distinct handshake consisting of putting two thumbs-up fists together and wiggling the thumbs back and forth.

Arnold has other notable friendships with Eugene (which goes back to their play school days) and Sid.


Arnold was named after his mother's father. The name Arnold is of German origin that stands for "the eagle rules" or "strong as an eagle."

Last Name

Arnold's last name has never been revealed on the show. With the exception of a few secondary characters (including Sid and Brainy), the only other notable characters whose surnames are unknown are Arnold's grandparents. They presumably have the same last name as Arnold, since in "Parents Day" and "The Journal" it is revealed they are his father's parents. The mystery surrounding Arnold's full name became a running gag on the show, by the last name almost being revealed, then someone or something interrupting or otherwise preventing it from being heard (much like the recipe for the Krabby Patty on SpongeBob SquarePants, Malcom's last name on Malcolm in the Middle, Timmy Turner's parents' first names on The Fairly Odd Parents, the location of the "secret spot" on Rocket Power, the country Fez is from on That 70's Show, and the state Springfield is in on The Simpsons). Some notable occasions when the name is almost revealed include:

  • In a commercial for the show that aired in the early part of the show's run, Arnold talks to the viewer to straighten out some facts about himself (such as the revelation that his notable red outerwear is a shirt, not a skirt). He ends with, "And yes, I do have a last name. It's..." at which point the screen turns into static and the sound cuts off, because the camera's batteries runs out.
  • In the episode "Fighting Families", Arnold wins the school's raffle drawing for the chance to be on the game show Fighting Families. The lady doing the drawing announces, "The winner is Arnold...hmm, there seems to be a smudge over the last name." Here it is revealed that Arnold is the only one in the school with this first name, thus making his surname somewhat unnecessary.
  • A similar instance to the one above occurs in "Eugene, Eugene!", where Tim Curry's character is casting the school kids for an upcoming play, and says, "I can't read my own handwriting", when he's casting Arnold as the villain. However, that scene did at least reveal Lila's last name (Sawyer, as mentioned above).
  • In one episode, "Crush on Teacher", in which Helga does one of her many passionate monologues about her love for Arnold, she says that she would one day like to become "Mrs. Arnold...wait, what is his last name?", revealing that she is just as clueless as the viewer.
  • In the episode "The Journal", Phil is reading the part of Miles's journal that recounts his and Stella's wedding. He gets to the part when they are pronounced "Mr. and Mrs...." at which point Grandma interrupts with a loud belch.
  • In the episode "Married", Helga dreams that she is married to Arnold, and that she is the president. In her opening speech, she introduces Arnold as "Arnold Pataki."
  • Series creator Craig Bartlett had been planning to finally reveal his last name in a second feature film for the series, which would also deal with his search to find his parents. Craig mentioned in a subsequent online chat: "I had an idea for the Jungle Movie (how Bartlett refers to the planned film), in the opening scene, a man comes to the door of the boarding house, and Arnold signs his name. Right, that's how you find out." However, problems between Bartlett and Nickelodeon, as well as the low gross of the first film, led to the cancellation of this second film.

In 2006 in an online chat with Hey Arnold! fans, Bartlett revealed that Arnold's grandpa used his last name throughout the series, almost confirming that Arnold's last name is "Shortman". (A transcript of this chat can be found here.)

  • In some episodes other characters can be seen referring to Arnold as Shortman (In the beginning of Arnold Visits Arnie, Helga is telling the other characters their positions in a game of baseball she is quoted saying " Looks like you're on Shortstop, Shortman"
  • In a commercial for Hey Arnold, where Bartlett is interviewed, Bartlett promises that Arnold's last name will be revealed, and that the audience has been hearing his name throughout the entire series. Grandpa frequently calls Arnold "Shortman."

Arnold's second name probably is "Philip" (See the chat transcript).

Appears in

24 Hours To Live, 6th Grade Girls, A Day In The Life Of A Classroom, Abner Come Home, April Fool's Day, Arnold & Lila, Arnold As Cupid, Arnold Betrays Iggy, Arnold Saves Sid, Arnold Visits Arnie, Arnold's Christmas, Arnold's Halloween, Arnold's Hat, Arnold's Room, Arnold's Thanksgiving, Arnold's Valentine, Baby Oskar, Back to School, Bag of Money, Beaned, Benchwarmer, Best Friends, Best Man, Big Bob's Crisis, Big Caesar, Big Gino, Big Sis, Biosquare, Buses, Bikes, and Subways, Career Day, Casa Paradiso, Chocolate Boy, Chocolate Turtles, Coach Wittenberg, Cool Jerk, Cool Party, Crabby Author, Crush on Teacher, Curly Snaps, Curly's Girl, Dangerous Lumber, Das Subway, Deconstructing Arnold, Dinner for Four, Dino Checks Out, Door #16, Downtown As Fruits, Eating Contest, Egg Story, Ernie in Love, Eugene Goes Bad, Eugene's Bike, Eugene's Birthday, Eugene's Pet, Eugene, Eugene!, False Alarm, Family Man, Field Trip, Fighting Families, Fishing Trip, Four-Eyed Jack, Freeze Frame, Friday the 13th, Full Moon, Gerald vs. Jamie O, Gerald Comes Over, Gerald Moves Out, Gerald's Game, Gerald's Secret, Gerald's Tonsils, Ghost Bride, Girl Trouble, Grand Prix, Grandpa's Birthday, Grandpa's Packard, Grandpa's Sister, Grudge Match, Hall Monitor, Harold the Butcher, Harold vs. Patty, Harold's Bar Mitzvah, Harold's Kitty, Haunted Train, Headless Cabbie, Heat, Helga vs. Big Patty, Helga And The Nanny, Helga Blabs It All, Helga On The Couch, Helga Sleepwalks, Helga's Boyfriend, Helga's Locket, Helga's Love Potion, Helga's Makeover, Helga's Masquerade, Helga's Parrot, Helga's Show, Hey Arnold!: The Movie, Hey Harold!, Hookey, It Girl, Jamie O In Love, Longest Monday, Love And Cheese, Magic Show, Married, Monkey Business, Monkeyman!, Mr. Green Runs, Mr. Hyunh Goes Country, Mudbowl, Mugged, New Bully on the Block, New Teacher, Old Iron Man, Olga Comes Home, Olga Gets Engaged, On The Lam, Operation Ruthless, Oskar Can't Read?, Oskar Gets a Job, Parents Day, Parents Day, Part Time Friends, Partners, Phoebe Breaks A Leg, Phoebe Cheats, Phoebe Skips, Phoebe Takes the Fall, Phoebe's Little Problem, Pigeon Man, Polishing Rhonda, Pre-Teen Scream, Principal Simmons, Quantity Time, Ransom, Rhonda Goes Broke, Rhonda's Glasses, Rich Guy, Rich Kid, Road Trip, Roller Coaster, Roughin' It, Runaway Float, Sally's Comet, Save The Tree, School Dance, School Play, Sid And Germs, Sid The Vampire Slayer, Sid's Revenge, Snow, Spelling Bee, Steely Phil, Stinky Goes Hollywood, Stinky's Pumpkin, Stoop Kid, Stuck In A Tree, Student Teacher, Summer Love, Suspended, Synchronized Swimming, Teachers' Strike, The Aptitude Test, The Baseball, The Beeper Queen, The Big Scoop, The Flood, The High Life, The Journal, The List, The Little Pink Book, The Old Building, The Pig War, The Racing Mule, The Sewer King, The Vacant Lot, Timberly Loves Arnold, Tour de Pond, Tutoring Torvald, Veterans Day, Weighing Harold, Weird Cousin, What's Opera, Arnold?, Wheezin' Ed, World Records.

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