For over four decades, Joseph Barbera reigned, along with his partner William Hanna, as one of the princes of American animation, second only to Walt Disney. Over the years, Hanna and Barbera created so many inimitable cartoon legends that their resumé reads like a laundry list of American television icons: Tom & Jerry, Scooby-Doo, Yogi Bear, the Jetsons, the Flintstones, Top Cat, Jonny Quest, Huckleberry Hound, the Smurfs, and many, many others.
Born on March 24, 1911, in Manhattan, the son of an Italian immigrant, Joseph Roland Barbera came of age in Flatbush, Brooklyn, where he demonstrated an incredible propensity for artistry as a young man. After high school, Barbera studied at the American Institute of Banking, before the sale of one of his illustrations to Collier's magazine turned his head in the direction of work as a full-time cartoonist; deeply inspired, Barbera wrote a letter to Walt Disney, requesting employment. Disney responded, and agreed to contact Barbera and meet with him on his next trip to New York, but never followed through on this promise.