- With partner Joseph Barbera, built an animation empire, creating such classic cartoons as Tom & Jerry, Scooby-Doo, Yogi Bear, the Jetsons, the Flintstones, Jonny Quest, the Smurfs, and many, many others.
- In 1930, began working at the Harman-Ising cartoon studios, providing story ideas, music and lyrics for the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series, and becoming an MGM story editor and director when Harman-Ising moved to that studio.
- In 1937, MGM formed its own animation department led by Fred Quimby, who hired Hanna and teamed him with Barbera.
- Melded animation with live-action films, such as when Jerry the mouse danced with Gene Kelly in Anchors Aweigh (1945) and swam with both cartoon co-star Tom and aquatic actress Esther Williams in Dangerous When Wet (1953).
- Earned multiple Oscar awards and nominations, prompting a promotion to head of MGM's animation department; when that department was shuttered in 1957, Barbera and Hanna were free to build their company, Hanna-Barbera Productions, for animated TV series.
- Developed a production technique called "limited animation" that made cartoons more efficient to produce on a larger scale, thereby facilitating the creation of their weekly series.
- His Emmy-winning cartoon The Last of the Curlews (1972) became the first ABC Afterschool Special.
- 1990, Emmy — Outstanding Children's Program: Nominee
- 1957, Oscar — Best Short Subject (Cartoon): Nominee
- 1983, Emmy — Outstanding Animated Program: Nominee
- 1955, Oscar — Best Short Subject (Cartoon): Nominee
- 1961, Golden Globe — Television Achievement: Winner
- 1994, Emmy — Outstanding Animated Program (for programming one hour or less): Nominee
- 1973, Emmy — Outstanding Achievement in Children's Programming - Informational/Factual: Winner
- 1982, Emmy — Outstanding Animated Program: Nominee
- 1984, Emmy — Outstanding Animated Program: Nominee
- Avice Joyce Hanna — Mother
- William John Hanna — Father
- David William Hanna — Son
- Violet Hanna — Wife
- Bonnie Jean Hanna Williams — Daughter
- Attended Compton Junior College, Compton, California, United States
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