(March 22, 2001 – Burbank, CA) - Animation legend William Denby Hanna, co-chairman and co-founder of the world renowned Hanna-Barbera Studios died today at home in North Hollywood, with his wife of 65 years at his side. He was 90 years old. Born in Melrose, New Mexico, on July 14, 1910, Hanna and his partner, Joseph Barbera created hundreds of beloved cartoon characters, including Tom and Jerry, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound and Scooby-Doo. Hanna, who was trained as an engineer, began his animation career during the Depression when he took a position at Harman-Ising Studios in the ink and paint department. In 1937 Hanna was hired by MGM, where he met Barbera and the two began a creative partnership that lasted over 60 years. At MGM, Hanna and Barbera broke new ground by mixing animation and live action as their cartoon characters Tom and Jerry danced with Gene Kelly in "Anchors Aweigh" and "Invitation To Dance" and with Esther Williams in "Dangerous When Wet." During the golden age of theatrical animation, the Tom and Jerry shorts received seven Academy Awards® over 10 years. When MGM closed its cartoon division in 1957, Hanna and Barbera founded their own studio, Hanna-Barbera Studios, and went on to produce more than 3,000 animated half-hour television shows. Just three years after founding their studio, the pair’s “Huckleberry Hound” won the first Emmy Award ever given to an animated series and launched the first animated primetime show, "The Flintstones." In 1976, Hanna and Barbera received stars on Hollywood's Walk of Fame and were inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1993. In the 1990s, Hanna served as executive producer for 20th Century Fox's feature film "Once Upon A Forest" and Universal Pictures' live action blockbuster "The Flintstones." In 1995 Hanna created two original cartoon shorts ("Hard Luck Duck" and "Wind-Up Wolf") for Cartoon Network's "What A Cartoon!" project, marking his first solo directorial efforts since 1941. In 2000, Cartoon Network launched the Boomerang Network, created as a showcase for the Hanna-Barbera library. In 1996, Hanna published his autobiography, “A Cast of Friends,” by Taylor Publishing Company. He was a charter member of the Boy Scouts of America and remained active with the organization throughout his life. In 2001, production began on a live-action film featuring Hanna Barbera’s cowardly Great Dane, Scooby-Doo, based on the series “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?” which was produced for 17 years and maintains the title as television’s longest-running animated series. He is survived by his wife Violet, son David, daughter Bonnie, grandchildren Laurie Hanna, Molly Hanna, William Hanna, John Hanna, David Williams, Phillip Williams and Emily Williams.
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