William Hanna was born in Melrose,
New Mexico, on July 14, 1910. Hanna studied to become
a structural engineer but had to drop out of college
with the onset of the Depression. A talent for drawing
led him to join the Harman-Ising animation studio in
1930; there he worked for seven years in the story and
When the MGM animation unit was established in 1937,
Hanna became one of its first staff members and directed
many of the Captain and the Kids cartons in 1938-39,
together with William Allen.
In 1938 he and Joe Barbera were teamed for the first
time on a short titled Gallopin' Gals; the association
proved mutually satisfying, and in 1939 Hanna
and Barbera collaborated again on "Puss Gets the Boot," the
first entry in the Tom
and Jerry series.
The Tom and
Jerry cartoons went on to dizzying success, and from
1939 on the professional career of Joe Barbera became
inseparable from that of William Hanna.
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; however this was short-lived
as MGM closed the division in 1956.
Following this they
teamed up 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
Jetsons, Jonny Quest, and Scooby-Doo, Where Are
You! by the end of the decade.
The studio thrived until 1991, when Hanna and Barbera
sold it to Turner Entertainment. Hanna and Barbera stayed
on as advisors and periodically worked on new Hanna-Barbera