Iwao Takamoto was born in LA in 1925 to Japanese parents and as a teen sent with them to the Manzanar internment camp. From his fellow captives he learned illustration and after his release he went to work for Disney as a character animator in 1947.
He later worked at Hanna Barbera where he created the character animation of Scooby Doo:
Takamoto said he created Scooby-Doo after talking with a Great Dane breeder, and named him after Frank Sinatra’s final phrase in “Strangers in the Night.”
The breeder “showed me some pictures and talked about the important points of a Great Dane, like a straight back, straight legs, small chin and such,” Takamoto said in a recent talk at Cartoon Network Studios.
“I decided to go the opposite and gave him a hump back, bowed legs, big chin and such. Even his color is wrong.”
His bio is dominated by amazing animal animation like 101 Dalmations, Lady & the Tramp and Hong Kong Phooey (aw come on! Scatman Crothers!) and later directed the 1973 animated version of Charlotte’s Web.
He passed away from a massive coronary at Cedars yesterday.