Animation legend William Hanna dies at 90
March 23, 2001 Web posted at: 8:36 a.m. EST (1336 GMT)

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- William Hanna, the co-founder and co-chairman of the legendary Hanna-Barbera Studios, died Thursday at age 90, according to a spokesman for Warner Brothers.

Spokesman Scott Rowe said the animation legend died at his home in North Hollywood with his wife of 65 years, Violet, by his side.

Hanna and his partner, Joseph Barbera, created hundreds of now-famous cartoon characters, including Tom and Jerry, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Scooby-Doo and Yogi Bear.

Born in Melrose, New Mexico, on July 14, 1910, William Denby Hanna was trained as an engineer, and began his animation career at the famous Harman-Ising Studios.

William Hanna, here with Hanna Barbera figures in 1988, helped create some of the most beloved cartoon characters in movies and TV

In 1937, he was hired by MGM, where he met Barbera. Their creative partnership would last more than 60 years.

At MGM, they revolutionized animation by mixing it with live action, as their cat and mouse characters Tom and Jerry danced with Gene Kelly in "Anchors Aweigh" and "Invitation To Dance," and with Esther Williams in "Dangerous When Wet."

The Tom and Jerry shorts earned seven Academy Awards. When MGM closed its cartoon division in 1957, Hanna and Barbera founded their own studio, which went on to produce more than 3,000 animated half-hour television shows.

Just three years after getting started, the pair's "Huckleberry Hound" won the first Emmy Award ever given for an animated series, and launched the first animated prime-time show, "The Flintstones."

In 1976, Hanna and Barbera received stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; they were inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1993.

The collection of Hanna-Barbera characters remains popular: Hanna served as executive producer for Universal Pictures' 1994 live-action version of "The Flintstones," and production began this year on a live-action film based on "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?", which Hanna-Barbera produced for 17 years and maintains the title of television's longest-running animated series, according to Warner Brothers.

Warner Brothers is a division of AOL Time Warner, which also owns CNN.

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