Iwao Takamoto

*Birth:* 29 April 1925
*Death:* 8 January 2007

Graphic Designer, Illustrator, Animator, Production Designer, Producer, Art Department Head, Generally Awesome Person

*Bio Summary:*
Another early Disney animator who had an incredible journey from start to finish regarding his career as well as life. Takamoto landed the job as assistant illustrator on Disney’s “Nine Old Men”. He worked with animators such as Bob Carlson and Milt Kahl. In 1961, Takamoto finally left Disney for Hanna-Barbera. This is where his career and talents truly soared. He was able to develop many famous cartoon personalities such as Scooby Doo, Astro, and Penelope Pitstop.

*Early Life/Family:*
Shortly after completing high school in Los Angeles, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941. Takamoto and his family were sent to an internment camp at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Within the camps, he quickly learned how to sketch and draw surrounded by the company of other accomplished Graphic Designers and Illustrators. During a small window of opportunity, Takamoto was able to leave camp and applied for an animation job at Walt Disney’s studio.

Takamoto, though no formal training, was given advice by two accomplished illustrators who had worked in Hollywood for many years. These “sessions” were conducted at the internment camp Takamoto was in at the time.

*Career Outline:*
First working for Disney as an assistant illustrator, Takamoto focused on short films such as Mickey and the Beanstalk and Pescos Bill. Larger films he worked on included rough animation on Cinderella, Peter Pan, and Lady and the Tramp. In addition to this, he oversaw new techniques such as xenographing in One Hundred and One Dalmatians. Shortly after this, Takamoto decided to leave Disney to join Hanna-Barbera after he noticed a rapid decline in classic animation films. His reasoning behind joining Hanna-Barbera was simple: children’s televised cartoons had more room for versatility. He was able to aid in the design for Scooby Doo’s large and goofy physique.

*Comments On Style:*
After seeing that Takamoto worked on Lady and the Tramp *specifically *to help to design Lady’s feminine appearance, it can be noted Takamoto has a gift with designing animals. The other famous canine creation of Takamoto’s is Scooby-Doo. His ability to give life to an otherwise in-animate animal is unique in itself.

*Influences: *

*Personality:* Was “quietly humorous” as well as “mild mannered”.

*Anecdotes:* Iwao (pronounced E-wow) decided to keep his non-Anglicized name because he felt satisfaction knowing the correct pronunciation of his name, when often times others would not. Called himself Scooby’s “designer”, NOT his “creator”.

Enjoyed classical jazz, as well as sports. He was a member of the 1950’s Disney Studios baseball team.

*Highlights included here. For a full filmography list, please visit the IMDB complete filmography page:,desc

1962 – “The Jetsons” (layout artist – 2 episodes)
1962 – 1964 – “The Flintstones” (layout artist – 11 episodes)
1975 – “The New Tom & Jerry Show” (creative producer)
1981 – 1990 – “The Smurfs” (creative producer – 144 episodes)
1986 – 1989 – “The Smurfs” (creative designer – 76 episodes)
1986 – 1987 – “Jonny Quest” (creative designer – 13 episodes)
1988 – 1991 – “A Pup Named Scooby-Doo” (creative designer – 27 episodes)
1989 – “Paddington Bear”
2002 – “What’s New, Scooby-Doo?” [14 episodes]

*Honors: *
· Vice President of Creative Design and Special Projects – Warner Brothers Animation (?-2007 [death])
· Winsor McCay Lifetime Achievement – ASIFA Hollywood (1996)
· Honorary Citation – Japanese American National Museum
· Golden Award – Animation Guild (2005)

*Related Links:*
Milt Kahl, Bob Carlson, Bob Connellson, Ward Kimball, Marc Davis, Eric Larson, Ollie Johnson, Frank Thomas, Tom Oreb (Disney). Jerry Eisenberg, Ed Benedict, Marty Murphy, Doug Wildey, Charles Nicholls and Alex Toth (Hanna Barbera).

*Contributors To This Listing:*
Paul Wells
Mike Mallory
Jordan Rodarte

Animators Hall of Fame