Myron Waldman, 97, an animator who helped draw Betty Boop, Casper, Popeye and Raggedy Ann and Andy, and originated Boop's sidekick -- a dog named Pudgy -- died of congestive heart failure Saturday at a hospital in Bethpage, N.Y.
A graduate of New York's Pratt Institute, he was hired in 1930 as an inker at Max Fleischer Studios. Four years later, Waldman was head animator and was drawing many of the studio's classic characters as well as the original Superman cartoon series. In addition to Pudgy, he created Hunky and Spunky, a cartoon about a donkey and her son that earned him an Academy Award nomination in 1939.
When Paramount took over Fleischer's operations in the 1940s, Waldman helped develop musical cartoons in which audiences were encouraged to sing along by following the bouncing ball that led them through the lyrics of melodies sung by such artists as Cab Calloway and Rudy Vallee.
After leaving Fleischer in 1945, Waldman worked on animation for commercials, including the chubby-faced Campbell's Soup kids. He also created his own syndicated comic strip, "Happy the Humbug," and published one of the earliest all-illustration novels.
In his later years, Waldman made limited-edition prints of many of the characters he drew 60 years ago during the golden age of cartoons but placed them in contemporary settings. One of the most popular prints shows Popeye tying a string to one of Bluto's teeth while Olive Oyl looks on. Waldman said it was a hit with dentists.