Josie DeCarlo

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Josie DeCarlo (died March 14, 2012) was a French-born model who became the inspiration and namesake for Josie McCoy of Josie and the Pussycats comics and the 1970 Hanna-Barbera Saturday morning cartoon series.[1][2] She was the widow of the late cartoonist, Dan DeCarlo, who created Josie and the Pussycats and based the main character on his wife.[1][3]

DeCarlo was born Josie Dumont in France.[1][3] She met her future husband, Dan DeCarlo, on a blind date in Belgium in 1945, just a short time after the end of the Battle of the Bulge.[1] At the time of their meeting, Dumont did not speak any English, while DeCarlo, a member of the U.S. Army during World War II, spoke very little French.[1] Unable to have a conversation due to their language barrier, Dumont and DeCarlo communicated through his cartoons. In a later interview, Josie DeCarlo explained their early courtship, "We com­mu­ni­cated with draw­ing...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."[1]

Decarlo and Dumont married. She became the inspiration for Josie and the Pussycats almost accidentally while the couple were taking a cruise.[1] DeCarlo wore a cat suit costume during the cruise, which became the basis for the fictional Josie and the Pussycats trademark outfits.[1] She explained to the New York Times in 2001 interview, "We went on a Caribbean cruise, and I had a cos­tume for the cruise, and that’s the way it started."[1][4] Later, when she got a new hairdo, Dan DeCarlo incorporated it into the Josie character as well, "The hairdo came after...One day, I came in with a new hairdo with a lit­tle bow in my hair, and he said, ‘That’s it!’"[1] Dan DeCarlo drew his wife with the cat costume as Josie McCoy, initially giving her the name "star" before deciding on Josie.[1] Josie first appeared in Archie Comics in 1962.[3] While DeCarlo became the model for Josie, the character was voiced by actress Janet Waldo in the television series.[2]

Dan DeCarlo died in 2001. However, Josie DeCarlo remained active in the comic and animation industries following his death.[1] She promoted her late husband's work within the industry, particularly the Josie and the Pussycats brand during the 2000s.[1]

Josie DeCarlo died in her sleep on March 14, 2012, at the age of 82. Her funeral was held in Scarsdale, New York.[1][2] She was predeceased by her husband and their twin sons, Dan DeCarlo Jr. and Jim DeCarlo.[2]

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