Josie DeCarlo, the inspiration for singer-guitarist Josie McCoy of the 1970 Hanna-Barbera TV cartoon series "Josie and the Pussycats" and its successors, has died in her sleep.
Her age was not immediately available.
The blog Big Cartoon News filed the first report on her death, quoting cartoon and comics historian Mark Evanier. He said that Josie was drawn to resemble her by her husband, comic book legend Dan DeCarlo, who died in 2001 at 82.
DeCarlo recalled how she became the inspiration for the cartoon Josie in a New York Times interview shortly after her husband's death, .
“We went on a Caribbean cruise, and I had a costume for the cruise, and that's the way it started,” Josie DeCarlo said of her cat suit.
“The hairdo came after,” Josie DeCarlo said. “One day, I came in with a new hairdo with a little bow in my hair, and he said, ‘That's it!'”
Dan DeCarlo sketched her wife in that outfit, and he gave her first name to the “star” when he went shopping to several syndicates for a proposed newspaper strip, said Evanier.
Josie Dumont met her husband in Belgium on a blind date shortly after the Battle of the Bulge; he spoke little French, she spoke no English.
“We communicated with drawing, ” she said. “He would draw things for me to make me understand what he had in mind. He was really so amusing. Instead of just using words, he would use cartoons to express himself. Right away, we knew that we were meant for each other.”
Evanier said she remained active in the comic book field and continued to promote her husband's work following his death.
“She was a lovely lady, and every one of Dan's many friends and fans loved her just as much as they loved Dan,” he added.
Funeral services will be held Monday in Scarsdale, New York.