William Hanna first made children smile when he brought the characters of The Jetsons and Atom Ant to life. Hanna, who turned television into his own personal cartoon world with partner Joseph Barbera, died on Thursday at his North Hollywood home of undisclosed causes. He was 90.
Hanna and Barbera met on the lot of MGM in 1937 where they created the Tom and Jerry cartoon series. They formed their own animation company, Hanna-Barbera, in 1957 after the animation division at MGM was shut down.
"There was no warning, It was just 'close the studio.' We were the best in the business and what were we going to do now? Sell hamburgers?" Barbera, 89, said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times last year.
The cartoonists went on to create a simpler and less expensive form of animation made especially for television. They received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1976 and were inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1993.
Warner Bros. animation president Jean MacCurdy, who worked for Hanna-Barbera Productions, told the Hollywood Reporter that Hanna will be missed.
"I think both Bill and Joe are humble people but very proud of all they've done, as well they should be," MacCurdy said. "I loved him a lot."
The co-chairman and co-founder of Hanna Barbera Studios also remained a charter member of Boy Scouts of America throughout his life.
Hanna is survived by wife Violet, two children, and seven grandchildren.