William Watts Biggers, the co-creator of the cartoon “Underdog,” died unexpectedly at the age of 85 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. He was part of the team that created the superhero cartoon character while working for New York City advertising firm Dancer Fitzgerald Sample.
At the time, Biggers was on an assignment for General Mills to come up with television cartoons to promote its breakfast cereals.
“Humble and lovable” Shoeshine Boy would turn into the heroic “Underdog” whenever gangster wolf Riff Raff and mad scientist Simon Bar Sinister would threaten his love interest, Sweet Polly Purebred. His famous catchphrase was “no need to fear, Underdog is here.” Underdog began on NBC in 1964 and ran in syndication until 1973.
The character remained so popular, but in 2007, a movie based on the cartoon was released starring “Game of Thrones” actor Peter Dinklage.
Biggers wrote for many publications, including TV Guide, Family Circle and Reader’s Digest, and wrote several novels, including “The Man Inside” and “Hold Back the Tide.”
After General Mills left the animation business, Biggers became vice president of promotion and creative services at NBC.