Joseph Barbera – Mr Scooby-Doo – Dies At 95

Joseph Barbera Dead 95 Hanna Barbera cartoons scooby dooJoseph Barbera – the more creative half of the immensely talented and successful animation partnership Hanna-Barbera – died in his home yesterday aged 95; with Joseph Barbera's cause of death probably linked to him being 95 years old.

In the 68 years since Joseph Barbera – along with partner Bill Hanna – first began to put pen to paper, he's created so many iconic cartoon creations loved by generations of children that it's almost too difficult to pinpoint Joseph Barbera's one true defining work. Was it co-creating Tom and Jerry in 1939? Was it helping to turn The Flintstones into one of the most successful TV comedies of all time? Everyone has their own favourite Joseph Barbera show, and we can't decide whether ours is Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?, The New Scooby Doo Movies, The Scooby-Doo/ Dynomutt Hour, Scooby's All-Star Laff-A-Lympics, Scooby-Doo And Scrappy-Doo, The Richie Rich/Scooby-Doo Show, The Scooby-Doo/ Scrappy-Doo/ Puppy Hour, The All-New Scooby And Scrappy-Doo Show, The 13 Ghosts Of Scooby Doo, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, What's New, Scooby-Doo? or Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get A Clue! 

Nah, it was probably The Jetsons.

As half of Hanna-Barbera, Joseph Barbera created more enduring pop culture figures than almost anyone else around. Although Bill Hanna helped to create Tom & Jerry – who went on to win seven Oscars – Hanna-Barbera is better-known for its television cartoons. The sheer number of lasting Hanna-Barbera creations is too long to list, but highlights include Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Secret Squirrel, The Flintstones, Wacky Races, The Hair Bear Bunch, Challenge Of The GoBots, 2 Stupid Dogs and official hecklerspray hero Top Cat.

According to CNN, Joseph Barbera was the man who made these creations live, while partner Bill Hanna – who died in 2001 – supplied something less tangible:

Their strengths melded perfectly, critic Leonard Maltin wrote in his book "Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons." Barbera brought the comic gags and skilled drawing, while Hanna brought warmth and a keen sense of timing. "This writing-directing team may hold a record for producing consistently superior cartoons using the same characters year after year — without a break or change in routine," Maltin wrote.

Already tributes from friends of Joseph Barbera are being published, like this one from Warner animation President Sander Schwartz:

"Joe Barbara was a passionate storyteller and a creative genius who, along with his late partner Bill Hanna, helped pioneer the world of animation. Joe's contributions to both the animation and television industries are without parallel – he has been personally responsible for entertaining countless millions of viewers across the globe."

And this one from Warner Bros. Chairman Barry Meyer, who said that Joseph Barbera's cartoons were:

"not only animated superstars, but also a very beloved part of American pop culture…. [from] the Stone Age to the Space Age and from prime time to Saturday mornings, syndication and cable. While he will be missed by his family and friends, [Barbera] will live on through his work."

The sheer lifespan of Joseph Barbera's career means that Hanna-Barbera will always partly be known for churning out a fleet of rubbish cartoons – Quick Draw McGraw answered the lifelong question of what would happen if you gave a gun to a slow-witted horse, while anyone who remembers Squiddly Diddly or Birdman And The Galaxy Trio with any amount of affection probably needs to take a long hard look at themselves – and ideas recycled to the point of inanity, Joseph Barbera's successes will always outweigh his failures.

Read more:

Yogi Bear's co-creator dies at 95 – CNN 


  1. says

    Very sad news, this holiday season. I have spent many a Saturday morning with Hanna-Barbera. I am thankful they shared their life with me.
    Scooby Doo will always be my favorite, Grape Ape, MaGilly gorilla, Jetsons, Flintstones, the list and their legacy will go on forever. God Bless

  2. says

    I am deeply saddened by the death of Mr. Barbera. What I would like to share with people is what kind of a person he was behind the cartoons. My 13 year old son Michael loved to draw cartoon characters, especially Scooby Doo. Mike was fortunate to meet Mr. Barbera. A friend of mine who new a friend that worked for Warner Brothers learned of Mike’s passion for cartooning and that he had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. He was kind enough to contact some of the staff at Warner Brothers that in turn contacted us and requested we send a picture of Mike so they could do a cartoon cell for him. Mike was very excited that they would do this for him so he went to right to work drawing a picture of Scooby Doo and Friends for Mr. Barbera along with a personal letter. Mr. Barbera promptly responded with a very encouraging letter praising Mikes work. A few weeks later we were notified that Mikes cartoon cell was completed and received an invitation to visit Warner Brothers Studios, which we accepted. When we arrived at the Studio lot we received treatment that was beyond imagination. During the studio lot tour staff took special care accommodate him every way possible. When we completed the studio tour we were told that there was someone that would like to meet him and show him how cartoons are made but we would have to go a short distance to Sherman Oaks where the cartoon studio was located. We were met at security by Mr. Barbera’s assistant Carlton who took us to every area within the studio, introducing us to everyone there. Then he took us to Mr. Barbera’s office and introduced Michael and the entire family to Mr. Barbera. Mike and Mr. Barbera hit it off right from the beginning and both agreed they didn’t like the new computer assisted cartoons but preferred the old ones. They went on to discuss their likes and dislikes of the new Scooby Doo Movie. They carried on their conversation just like they had known each other for year and were old friends. We visited with him in his office for quite a long time and I can’t express the joy and happiness he gave Mike. I will never forget the last thing he said to me was God Bless You and Your Family.

    All I can say is what a wonderful man who has never lost touch with himself who was unselfish and had unconditional love, compassion and kindness for others. May God Bless you and your family Mr. Barbera we have lost one of Mike’s best friends.