Magic with a pencil in his hand: Joseph Barbera, 1911-2006

Joseph Barbera, who with partner William Hanna (1910-2001) created hundreds of popular animated movies and series, died yesterday in Studio City, California. He was 95.

Animator Barbera first met comedy writer Hanna in 1937, prior to working on Tom & Jerry cartoons together at MGM. In 1957, the duo formed their own animation studio.

“Bill Hanna and I tossed a coin to decide which of our names would come first in the logo of our partnership. Bill won the toss, but I never minded a bit. As far as we were both concerned, the partnership of Hanna-Barbera was a winning combination from either end,” said Barbera in 1996.

The many characters created by Hanna-Barbera included Scooby Doo, the Flintstones, the Jetsons, and Yogi Bear. Among the feature films produced by the studio was the 1973 adaptation of Charlotte’s Web.

“Joe, being the artistic half of our team, had his creative steam up and was turning out sketches for new characters at a rate of what seemed about one every five minutes,” said Hanna in 1996. “How he did it, I’ll never know. Joe was magic with a pencil in his hand.”

Barbera died of natural causes. He is survived by his wife and three children.

Primary Information Sources/External Links for Further Reading
Joseph Barbera’s obituary (HannaBarbera.com/Warner Brothers)
Hanna-Barbera Information (Museum of Broadcast Communications)

Source for quotes
Hanna, Bill with Tom Ito. 1996. A Cast of Friends. Dallas: Taylor Publishing Company.