WILLIAM HANNA Biography - Other artists & entretainers


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Name: William Hanna                                                                           
Born: 14 July 1910 Melrose, New Mexico                                                       
Died: 22 March 2001 North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California                                 
William Denby "Bill" Hanna (July 14, 1910 - March 22, 2001) was an American                   
animator, director, producer, cartoon artist, and co-founder, together with                   
Joseph Barbera, of Hanna-Barbera. The studio produced well-known cartoons such               
as The Huckleberry Hound Show, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Scooby-Doo as well               
as the musical film, Charlotte's Web.                                                         
William Hanna was born in Melrose, New Mexico, the son of Lebanese-born                       
William J. Hanna and Avice (Denby) Hanna.                                                     
He attended Compton High School from 1925 through 1928. Hanna started his career             
in 1932 when he learned that Leon Schlesinger Productions, producers of animated             
cartoons for Warner Bros., were hiring staff. He gained his employment without               
any formal training and soon became head of their Ink and Paint Department. When             
producer-directors Hugh Harman and Rudolph Ising left Schlesinger and Warners in             
1933 to become independent and produce cartoons for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM),               
Hanna was one of the employees who followed them.                                             
In 1936, Hanna directed his first cartoon, To Spring, one of the Harman-Ising                 
Happy Harmonies series entries. In 1937, MGM made a business decision to stop                 
outsourcing to Harman-Ising and bring production in-house. Hanna was among those             
hired away from Harman-Ising, and he became a senior director on MGM's Captain               
and the Kids series. The same year, they hired storyman Joseph Barbera from                   
Terrytoons, and in 1939 the two began what was to be a winning partnership as co-directors.   
The first cartoon directed by Hanna and Barbera together was Puss Gets the Boot,             
which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best (Cartoon) Short Subject and                 
introduced their most famous creation from this period, the cat and mouse duo                 
Tom and Jerry. Hanna supplied all the screams and yelps of Tom in the shorts                 
without credit. Leonard Maltin says that "Barbera's strength was in gags and                 
story development, while Hanna saw himself more as a director, with a solid                   
sense of timing; they complemented each other perfectly."                                     
Hanna and Barbera's 17-year partnership on the Tom & Jerry series resulted in 7               
Academy Awards for Best (Cartoon) Short Subject, and 14 total nominations, more               
than any other character-based theatrical animated series. Hanna and Barbera                 
were placed in charge of MGM's animation division in late 1955; this was short-lived,         
as MGM closed the division in 1957.                                                           
Hanna-Barbera founders William Hanna and Joseph Barbera pose with several of the             
Emmy awards the Hanna-Barbera studio has won.                                                 
From here, Hanna branched out into television, forming the company Shield                     
Productions to partner with animator Jay Ward, who had created the series                     
Crusader Rabbit. This fizzled, and in 1957 he reteamed up with his old partner               
Joseph Barbera to produce the series The Ruff & Reddy Show, under the company                 
name H-B Enterprises, soon changed to Hanna-Barbera Productions.                             
Hanna-Barbera Productions became by the late-1960s the most successful                       
television animation studio in the business, producing hit programs such as The               
Flintstones, The Jetsons, Jonny Quest, and Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! by the end             
of the decade.                                                                               
Hanna-Barbera had been a subsidiary of Taft Broadcasting (later Great American               
Communications) since 1967. The studio thrived until 1991, when it was sold to               
Turner Broadcasting. Hanna and Barbera stayed on as advisors and periodically                 
worked on new Hanna-Barbera shows, including the What-a-Cartoon! series.                     
Hanna died of throat cancer on March 22, 2001 at the age of 90 in North                       
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. He is buried in Ascension Cemetery in Lake               
Forest, California.