William Watts Biggers, the co-creator of the 1960s cartoon Underdog has died. He was 85.
Biggers also helped create King Leonardo and His Short Subjects and Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales. According to The Associated Press, Biggers also wrote for TV Guide, Family Circle, and Reader’s Digest. He also wrote a number of novels, including The Man Inside and Hold Back the Tide.
Derek Tague, a family friend, said Biggers passed away unexpectedly in his Plymouth, Massachusetts, home Sunday, February 10.
Biggers family said he “delighted in the enduring appeal of his Underdog franchise.” This included a 2007-live action film starring Peter Dinklage, Jason Lee, and Amy Adams, as well as a balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Underdog ran from 1964 to to 1973 on NBC. The cartoon was primarily sponsored by General Mills. There were 124 episodes of the series, which followed a dog named Shoeshine Boy who changed into Underdog by rushing into a telephone booth in order to save his girlfriend, Sweet Polly Purebred. He also fought villains such as Riff Raff, a gangster wolf, and Simon Bar Sinister, a mad scientist.
Underdog spoke in rhymes, including his most famous line, “There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here.” The character was voiced by comic actor Wally Cox.
An Avondale Estates, Georgia, native, William Biggers is survived by his daughter, Victoria, his son, William Watts Biggers, Jr., and his longtime companion Nancy Purbeck. His wife of 39 years, Grace, died in 1989. Funeral arrangement will be private, and a memorial service is planned for a later date.