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Joseph Barbera

Joseph Barbera

Known For: Production · Birthday: 1911-03-24 · Deathday: 2006-12-18 (95 years old) · Gender: Male · Place of Birth: New York City, New York, USA

244 Movies · 147 TV shows

Also Known As: Joe Barbera · Joseph Roland Barbera · Joseph R. Barbera

Biography

Joseph Roland Barbera was an American animator, director, producer, storyboard artist, and cartoon artist. His film and television cartoon characters entertained millions of fans worldwide for much of the 20th century. He was born to Italian immigrants in New York City, where he lived, attended college and began his career. Hanna and Barbera co-founded Hanna-Barbera in 1957. The company became the most successful television animation studio in the business. The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, Scooby-Doo, Top Cat, The Smurfs, Huckleberry Hound, and The Jetsons were all produced at the studio. Hanna and Barbera directed seven Academy Award films and won eight Emmy Awards. Hanna-Barbera's shows had a worldwide audience of over 300 million people in the 1960s. Their cartoon characters have appeared in other media such as films, books, and toys.

Career

During high school, Barbera worked as a tailor's delivery boy. In 1929, he became interested in animation after watching a screening of Walt Disney's The Skeleton Dance. During the Great Depression, he tried unsuccessfully to become a cartoonist for a magazine called The NY Hits Magazine. Barbera took art classes at the Art Students League of New York and the Pratt Institute and was hired to work in the ink and paint department of Fleischer Studios. In 1932, he joined the Van Beuren Studios as an animator and storyboard artist. He worked on cartoon series such as Cubby Bear and Rainbow Parades. In 1935, Barbera created his first solo-effort storyboard about a character named Kiko the Kangaroo. The storyline was of Kiko in an airplane race with another character called Dirty Dog. Barbera moved over to Paul Terry's Terrytoons studio in 1936. This Tom and Jerry series starred two humans. The original storyboard, which had been passed down through the Barbera family, went on sale at auction in November 2013. Barbera left Terrytoons and New York for the new Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) cartoon unit in California in 1937. The two quickly realized they would make a good team. In 1940, Hanna and Barbera jointly directed Puss Gets the Boot, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best (Cartoon) Short Subject. Barbera and Hanna worked alongside animator Tex Avery, who had created Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny for Warner Bros. and directed Droopy cartoons at MGM. Hanna wanted to return to working for Ising, to whom he felt very loyal. Barbera and Hanna met with Quimby, who discovered that although Ising had taken sole credit for producing Puss Gets the Boot, he never actually worked on it. Quim by gave Hanna and Barbera permission to pursue their cat-and-mouse idea. The revamped characters first appeared in 1941's The Midnight Snack. Over the next 17 years, Barbera and Hanna worked exclusively on Tom and Jerry. They directed more than 114 popular cartoon shorts. During World War II, they also made animated training films for the military. The series won its first Academy Award for the 11th short, The Yankee Doodle Mouse (1943)—a war-time adventure. Tom and Jerry was ultimately nominated for 14 Academy Awards, winning 7. No other character-based theatrical animated series has won more awards, nor has any other series featuring the same characters. Quimby accepted each Academy Award for Tom and Jerry without inviting Barbera and Hanna onstage. When Quimby retired in late 1955, Hanna and Barbera were placed in charge of MGM's animation division. As MGM began to lose more revenue on animated cartoons due to television, the studio soon realized that re-releasing old cartoons was far more profitable than producing new ones. In 1957, Barbera reteamed with his former partner Hanna to produce cartoon films for television and theatrical release. As they had at MGM, the two brought their different skills to the company; Barbera was a skilled gag writer and sketch artist, while Hanna had a gift for timing, story construction and recruiting top artists. A coin toss determined that Hanna would have precedence in the naming of the new company, first called H-B Enterprises but soon changed to Hanna-Barbera Productions. Barbera and Hanna's MGM colleague George Sidney, the director of Anchors Aweigh, became the third partner and business manager in the company. The Ruff & Reddy Show, a series which detailed the friendship between a dog and cat, was the first offering. The Flintstones became the first animated prime-time show to be a hit. Fred Flintstone's signature exclamation "yabba dabba doo" soon entered everyday usage. Hanna-Barbera Productions was the most successful television animation studio in the business. The company later produced a futuristic version of The Flintstones, known as The Jetsons. The Hanna-Barbera studio produced over 3000 animated half-hour television shows. Among the more than 100 cartoon series they produced were The Quick Draw McGraw Show, Top Cat, Jonny Quest, The Magilla Gorilla Show, Scooby-Doo, Super Friends, and The Smurfs. The company also produced animated specials based on Alice in Wonderland, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Cyrano de Bergerac, as well as the feature-length films Charlotte's Web and Heidi's Song. The number of drawings for a seven-minute cartoon decreased from 14,000 to nearly 2,000. The company implemented innovative techniques such as rapid background changes to improve viewing. Critics criticized the change from detailed animation to repetitive movements by two-dimensional characters. Hanna and Barbera once said that their choice was to adapt to the television budgets or change careers. Limited animation paved the way for future animated series such as The Simpsons, SpongeBob SquarePants, and South Park. Hanna-Barbera Productions was sold to Taft Broadcasting (renamed Great American Communications in 1987) for $12 million. By the mid-1990s Hanna-barbera was producing several original series for Cartoon Network, including Dexter's Laboratory and The Powerpuff Girls. Barbera and Hanna continued to advise their former company. In 1996, Turner merged with Time Warner, owners of Warner Bros., who would eventually absorb Hanna-barbera into Warner Bros. Animation. Barbera remained active as an executive producer for Warner Bros.; he voiced the houseowner in a new Tom and Jerry cartoon. He wrote, co-storyboarded and co-directed The Karate Guard (2005), the return of Tom and Jerry to the big screen. His final animated project was the direct-to-video feature Tom andJerry: A Nutcracker Tale (2007)

Personal Life

Joseph Barbera was born at 10 Delancey Street in the Little Italy (Lower East Side) section of Manhattan. His family moved to Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York when he was four months old. His parents were Sicilian immigrants Vincent Barbera, born in Castelvetrano (of possibly Lebanese origins) and Francesca Calvacca Barbera,. born in Sciacca. He had two younger brothers, Larry (1912-1999) and Ted (1914-2000), both of whom served in World War II. Larry participated in the invasion of Sicily. Ted was a fighter pilot with the United States Army Air Forces and served in the Aleutian Islands Campaign. Barbera's father, Vincent, was the prosperous owner of three barbershops who squandered the family fortunes on gambling. By the time Barbera was 15, his father had abandoned the family and his maternal uncle Jim became a father figure to him. He graduated from Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn in 1928. Barbera was briefly managed by World Lightweight Boxing Champion Al Singer's manager. In 1935, Barbera married his high school sweetheart, Dorothy Earl. Barbera won several boxing titles while in high school. He later lost interest in boxing and retired from the sport. Barbera and his wife briefly separated when he went to California. They reunited but were on the verge of another separation. They had four children: two sons (Neal and an infant boy who died two days after his birth) and two daughters (Lynn and Jayne, who has been a producer in her own right) Barbera met his second wife, Sheila Holden, sister of British rock and roll singer Vince Taylor at Musso & Frank's restaurant. Unlike Dorothy, who had preferred to stay at home with the children, Sheila enjoyed the Hollywood social scene. The marriage officially ended in 1963.

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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Joseph_Barbera", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.