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Iwao Takamoto (29 April 1925 - 8 January 2007) was a Japanese-American animator, television producer, and film director. He was a production designer for Hanna-Barbera Productions and the artist/character designer of Scooby-Doo.
Takamoto's father moved from Hiroshima to the United States for his health. He only went back to Japan once, and that was to marry his wife. Takamoto was born on April 19 1925 in Los Angeles, California. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Takamoto's family, like many Japanese-Americans, had to move to an internment camp. They spent the rest of World War II in the Manzanar internment camp. While he was there, Takamoto received basic illustration training from other people in the camp.
Takamoto first started doing cartoons professionally after the end of the war. He was hired as an assistant animator by Walt Disney Studios in 1947. Takamoto eventually became an assistant for the legendary Milt Kahl. He worked as an animator on such titles as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, and Lady and the Tramp.
Takamoto left Disney in 1961 and joined Hanna-Barbera Productions shortly afterwards. He did many jobs there, but is arguably best known as a character designer. He was responsible for the original character design of such characters as Scooby-Doo, The Jetsons' dog Astro, and Penelope Pitstop. He worked as a producer at Hanna-Barbera, supervising shows such as The Addams Family, Hong Kong Phooey, and Jabberjaw. He directed several feature length animated films, including Charlotte's Web (1973) and Jetsons: The Movie (1990). The inspiration for Scooby-Doo's creation as a Great Dane came from an employee of the Hanna-Barbera company who bred this dog.
Takamoto was Vice-President of Creative Design at Hanna-Barbera, and was responsible for overseeing Hanna-Barbera's product-related merchandising. In 2005, he received the Golden Award from the Animation Guild, to honour his more than 50 years of service in the animation field.
- "Scooby-Doo designer dies in L.A.". Reuters. 2007-01-09. http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=entertainmentNews&storyid=2007-01-09T052341Z_01_N08423986_RTRUKOC_0_US-TAKAMOTO.xml. Retrieved 2007-01-10.
- "Scooby-Doo's creator dies aged 81". BBC News. 2007-01-08. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/6243717.stm. Retrieved 2007-01-10.