On This Day: Joe Barbera
Joseph Roland “Joe” Barbera was born on March 24, 1911 in the Little Italy section of New York City. Though he loved drawing from an early age, Barbera put art aside for a more traditional job as a banker.
When the Great Depression hit, his banking job disappeared, however, and Barbera turned back to his first love. In 1932 he joined the Van Beuren Studio as an animator and scriptwriter. When Van Beuren closed down four years later Barbera moved to MGM. In 1938 he first teamed with William Hanna, and their second joint project, the first Tom & Jerry cartoon, Puss Gets the Boot, was nominated for an Academy Award.
Hanna and Barbera continued to work together, receiving seven Academy Awards over 17 years for Tom & Jerry. In 1955 they took charge of MGM’s animation division—when it closed two years later they founded their own company, H-B Enterprises, which they soon renamed Hanna-Barbera Productions.
Together they produced the Flintstones, the Jetsons, Scooby-Doo, and many other great American cartoons. Barbera died on December 18, 2006 of natural causes. He was 95 years old.