Joseph Barbera, the American animator and co-founder of the Hanna-Barbera studio, died yesterday at the age of 95.

As the studio rose to fame, Mr Barbera was partly responsible for the creation of well-loved characters in cartoons such as The Flintstones, The Jetsons and Scooby Doo during his 70-year animation career.

Before his time at Hanna-Barbera, both he and William Hanna were responsible for Tom and Jerry coming to life while working for the MGM film studio.

Warner Bros announced in a statement that Mr Barbera died of natural causes at his home with his wife Sheila by his side.

Barry Meyer, Warner Bros chairman, said that the animator "will live on through his work".

"The characters he created with his late partner William Hanna are not only animated superstars, but also a very beloved part of American pop culture," he added.

With a star on the Walk of Fame, during their career Mr Barbera and Mr Hanna won numerous Emmys  the highest television awards in the US  and nominations for Oscars.

Mr Hanna died in 2001, after which Mr Barbera worked as an executive producer for Warner Bros.

Casey Kasem, the voice of Scooby-Doo's sidekick Shaggy, told the BBC that Hanna-Barbera had been able to "bring top quality cartoon shows to television".

"When they came along and they did it, they made it profitable for people who were big investors," he said.

"It's a legacy that he has that has touched people around the world with what I call magic, they just kept producing one great show after another."

19/12/2006 10:27:33