By
April 23, 1998 12:00 AM

William Hanna, 90, the groundbreaking animator who made millions laugh over more than six decades with his and partner Joseph Barbera’s cartoon creations — which included Fred Flintstone, Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, and Tom and Jerry — died in his California home on Thursday, said a spokesman for Warner Bros. Hanna had reportedly been in failing health the past few years. His wife of 65 years, Violet, was at his side at the time of his death. And, in spirit, so were Yogi and Boo Boo and all the others. Hanna and Barbera (who is now 89) first teamed in 1937 to create Tom Cat and Jerry the Mouse for MGM, in part to compete with Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse. Jerry hit the big time in 1945, when he danced with Gene Kelly in the MGM musical “Anchors Aweigh.” MGM closed its animation facilities in the ’50s, which pushed Hanna and Barbera into TV, quite famously. Besides the primetime “The Flintstones” and Huckleberry’s and Yogi’s adventures, the team also produced “The Jetsons,” a space-age sitcom. But as Fred might be telling Wilma today, “Yabba, dabba . . . boo hoo.”

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