Scooby Doo Designer Takamoto Dies 3 Weeks After Boss Barbera

January 9, 2007 3:11pm CST
Japanese American animator, television producer, and film director Iwao Takamoto died on January 8th, 2007 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from a massive coronary, at 81. He was being treated for respiratory problems, said Gary Miereanu, a spokesman for Warner Bros Animation. The illustrator’s death comes less than a month after that of Hanna-Barbera co-founder Joseph Barbera, who was 95. Barbera’s business partner, William Hanna, died in 2001. Takamoto was Vice-President of Creative Design at Hanna-Barbera, and was responsible for overseeing H-B's many product related merchandising. In 2005 he received the Golden Award from the Animation Guild, to honor his more than 50 years of service in the animation field. However, Iwao Takamato was best known as being a production designer for Hanna-Barbera Productions. Takamoto was survived by his wife, Barbara, son Michael and stepdaughter Leslie. Takamoto first entered the cartoon world after the end of the war. Despite a lack of formal training, he was hired as an assistant animator by Walt Disney Studios in 1947, where he worked as an assistant for the legendary Milt Kahl. He worked as an animator on such titles as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, and Lady and the Tramp. Takamoto left Disney in 1961 and joined Hanna-Barbera Productions shortly after. He worked in several positions there, but is arguably best known as a character designer. He was responsible for the original character design of such characters as Scooby Doo, The Jetsons' dog Astro, and Penelope Pitstop. “Scooby-Doo” features a talking Great Dane and four teenagers, all busy solving mysteries. Scooby, full name Scoobert Doo, loves to eat and is less intent than his partners to go face to face with creepy villains and scary monsters. His love of dogs was also shown with his work on the spotted pups in “101 Dalmatians.” He had worked as a producer at Hanna-Barbera, supervising shows such as The Addams Family, Hong Kong Phooey, and Jabberjaw. He had directed several feature length animated films, including Charlotte's Web (1973) and Jetsons: The Movie (1990). Takamoto said he created Scooby-Doo after talking with a Great Dane breeder, and named him after Frank Sinatra's final phrase in "Strangers in the Night." The breeder "showed me some pictures and talked about the important points of a Great Dane, like a straight back, straight legs, small chin and such," Takamoto said in a recent talk at Cartoon Network Studios. "I decided to go the opposite and gave him a hump back, bowed legs, big chin and such. Even his color is wrong." Scooby-Doo is the longest running American animated television series produced for Saturday morning television in several different versions from 1969 to the present.
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