Joseph Roland "Joe" Barbera (March 24, 1911 - December 18, 2006) was an American animator, director, producer, storyboard artist and cartoon artist. He co-created Tom and Jerry with William Hanna during their time at the MGM cartoon studio. He and William Hanna have won 7 academy awards from Tom and Jerry.
Hanna and Barbera would establish Hanna-Barbera with Anchors Aweigh director George Sidney following the closure of the MGM cartoon studio. Hanna-Barbera would become the most successful television animation company by producing hit shows such as The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo, The Smurfs, Huckleberry Hound, Top Cat, Yogi Bear, and The Jetsons.
When Barbera was is high school, he worked as a tailor's delivery boy. In 1929, he became interested in animation after watching The Skeleton Dance. During the Great Depression, he worked as a cartoonist in the magazines Redbook, Saturday Evening Post, and Collier's, where he drew single cartoons. Barbera took art classes at the Art Students League of New York and the Pratt institute. Barbera was hired to work at the ink and paint department of The Fleischer Studios and in 1932, he joined the Van Beuren as animator and a storyboard artist and worked on series like Cubby Bear, Rainbow Parade, and a different Tom and Jerry than the one he would work on later. When the Van Beuren Studios closed down in 1936, he moved to Paul Terry's Terrytoon Studio. In 1937, he was lured to the new Metro Goldwyn Mayer cartoon studio by a salary increase. He went to Los Angeles and joined the studio, and worked with William Hanna, whose desk was opposite to his. Barbera and Hanna also worked with Tex Avery, a former Looney Tunes employee.
In 1940, Barbera and Hanna helped create Puss Gets the Boot, an academy award nomination. This cartoon would feature Jasper and Jinx, early versions of Tom And Jerry. Since the studio wanted a wider variety of cartoons, Fred Quimby (The sales executive of the MGM Cartoon Studio) , did not want Barbera and Hanna to make another Jasper and Jinx cartoon. But since Puss Gets the Boot became so popular, Quimby changed his mind and let them work on more Jasper and Jinx cartoons.
Babera and Hanna began working on another Jasper and Jinx cartoon, The Midnight Snack. Meanwhile, Barbera and Hanna decided to change the name of Jasper and Jinx. They held a contest which was won by animator John Carr, who suggested that the cat and mouse should be named Tom and Jerry. After The Midnight Snack was released in 1941, it was very successful and Barbera and Hanna would work on many Tom and Jerry cartoons such as The Night Before Christmas, The Yankee Doodle Mouse, The Zoot Cat, Quiet Please!, The Milky Waif, The Cat Concerto, Old Rockin' Chair Tom, The Little Orphan, Jerry's Cousin, The Two Mouseketeers, Johann Mouse, Pecos Pest, Blue Cat Blues, and Tot Watchers. Many Tom and Jerry's have gotten academy awards, and have made appearances in MGM feature films, Anchors Aweigh and Dangerous When Wet.
During the 1950's, the advent of television began, and Barbera and Hanna made all Tom and Jerry cartoons in cinemascope. Fred Quimby retired in 1955, and Barbera and Hanna were in charge of MGM cartoons. They soon stopped making new cartoons and started re-releasing old ones in cinemascope. In 1957, the MGM cartoon studio was closed and Hanna and Barbera were laid off.