Joe Barbera (Joe Barbera)

Joe Barbera

American Animator, Director and Producer. Born on Delancey Street in the Little Italy Lower East Side section of Manhattan, New York. The son of Vincent Barbera and Francesca Calvacca. Joseph displayed a talent for drawing as early as the first grade. While in high school, Joseph won several boxing titles. He graduated from Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn in 1928. Soon after would marry his high school sweetheart Dorothy Earl, they would have three children and divorce in 1963. He soon met and married Sheila Holden. Joseph tried his hand at banking, playwriting and amateur boxing before the successful sale of a sketch to Collier’s magazine encouraged him to pursue a career as a cartoon artist. In 1936, he found work at the MGM studios. In 1938, he joined forces with William Hanna. The two quickly realized they would make a good team. By 1939, they had solidified a partnership that would last over 60 years. 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. In 1940, Hanna and Barbera jointly directed Puss Gets the Boot, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best (Cartoon) Short Subject. The studio wanted a diversified cartoon portfolio, so despite the success of Puss Gets the Boot, Barbera and Hanna’s supervisor, Fred Quimby, did not want to produce more cat and mouse cartoons believing that there were already enough cartoons of those in existence. Surprised by the success of Puss Gets the Boot, Barbera and Hanna ignored Quimby’s resistance and continued developing the cat-and-mouse theme. By this time, however, 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. Quimby then gave Hanna and Barbera permission to pursue their cat-and-mouse idea. The result was their most famous creation, Tom and Jerry . Over the next 17 years, the occasionally sadistic antics that Mr. Barbera and Mr. Hanna devised for their anthropomorphic rivals,  rechristened Tom and Jerry and would earn MGM another 13 Oscar nominations and seven statuettes. Though MGM put Mr. Barbera and Mr. Hanna in charge of its animation division in 1955, the studio closed the unit two years later. So the two turned to their side company, H-B Enterprises, which they had established to produce animated television commercials, and began working full time on television programs. Their first series, “The Ruff & Reddy Show,” had its debut on NBC in December 1957. That was followed in 1958 by “The Huckleberry Hound Show,” about a powder-blue pooch who spoke and sung badly with a Southern drawl. That series later won an Emmy and yielded a spinoff show for one of its supporting characters, an Ed Norton-like forest denizen named Yogi Bear. Mr. Barbera and Mr. Hanna revisited the template of “The Honeymooners” in 1960 to create their most popular series, “The Flintstones,” a half-hour animated sitcom about two families living in the Stone Age suburb of Bedrock. It appeared in prime time on ABC and was a top-20 show in its first year. By the late 1960s, Hanna-Barbera Productions was the most successful television animation studio in the business.  The Flinstones has remained popular over the years and have spawned countless television specials and several feature films. After tackling the past, Hanna and Barbera jumped to the future with The Jetsons in 1962. In the late 1960s, Hanna and Barbera scored another big hit with Scooby Doo, Where Are You? Later they also produced the critically acclaimed Charlotte’s Web (1973). Some of their later projects included Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space and The Smurfs. In all, the pair is believed to have produced more than 3,000 half-hour shows and 150 television series. Joseph would write a autobiography, “My Life in ‘Toons: From Flatbush to Bedrock in Under a Century.” He would die at the age of 95 in his home of Natural causes. (bio by: Shock)  Family links:  Children:  Infant Boy Barbera (1940 – 1940)* *Calculated relationship


  • March, 24, 1911
  • USA


  • December, 12, 2006
  • USA


  • Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)
  • California
  • USA

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