DEAD: William Hanna

DEAD: ON THIS DATE

William Hanna (aged 90)
American animator and cartoonist

William Denby Hanna (July 14, 1910 – March 22, 2001) was an American animator, director, producer, voice actor, cartoon artist, and musician whose film and television cartoon characters entertained millions of people for much of the 20th century.

After working odd jobs in the first months of the Great Depression, Hanna joined the Harman and Isinganimation studio in 1930. During the 1930s, Hanna steadily gained skill and prominence while working on cartoons such as Captain and the Kids. In 1937, while working at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Hanna met Joseph Barbera. The two men began a collaboration that was at first best known for producing Tom and Jerry. In 1957, they co-founded Hanna-Barbera, which became the most successful television animation studio in the business, creating and/or producing programs such as The Flintstones, The Huckleberry Hound Show, The Jetsons, Scooby-Doo, The Smurfs, and Yogi Bear. In 1967, Hanna-Barbera was sold to Taft Broadcasting for $12 million, but Hanna and Barbera remained heads of the company until 1991. At that time, the studio was sold to Turner Broadcasting System, which in turn was merged with Time Warner in 1996; Hanna and Barbera stayed on as advisors.

DEATH: Hanna died of esophageal cancer at his home in North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California on March 22, 2001. He was 90 years old. After his death, Cartoon Network aired a 20-second segment with black dots tracing Hanna’s portrait with the words “We’ll miss you – Cartoon Network” fading in on the right-hand side. This same type of tribute was done for Chuck Jones in 2002 and Hanna’s partner, Joseph Barbera in 2006, when each of them died. However, Barbera, unlike the other two, had an audio clip of his voice playing in his Cartoon Network tribute. Hanna is buried at Ascension Cemetery in Lake Forest, California.

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