Animator Ed Benedict, who worked on designs for Fred Flintstone, Barney Rubble and Yogi Bear, died Aug. 28 in Auburn, Calif. He was 94.
Benedict, who worked at MGM, Universal and other studios on short theatrical cartoons, joined Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera soon after the pair launched their Hanna-Barbera TV animation studio in the late 1950s. Among his many designs for them were the characters for their first series, 1957’s “The Ruff & Reddy Show.”
For “The Flintstones,” Benedict not only designed the hapless cavemen Fred and Barney, but also their long-suffering wives, Wilma and Betty, and the show’s clever array of Stone Age houses and gadgets, including the characters’ foot-powered cars.
“The Flintstones,” one of the first cartoon series created for adults as well as children, debuted in 1960 and was an immediate hit.
“It would not be an exaggeration to say that a large part of H-B’s success in TV animation is owed to Benedict’s incredibly appealing and fun character designs,” cartoon historian Jerry Beck wrote in a tribute posted on the Web site cartoonbrew.com
Before joining Hanna-Barbera, Benedict worked for another cartoon legend, Tex Avery, at both Universal and MGM studios. At MGM, where Hanna and Barbera also worked, he was the lead layout artist and designer on “Deputy Droopy” and other popular theatrical shorts.
He also worked with “Woody Woodpecker” creator Walter Lantz on several shorts, including “The Dizzy Dwarf” and “Unpopular Mechanic.”