NEW YORK -- Myron Waldman, who in his long animation career originated Betty Boop's sidekick, helped create two Oscar-nominated cartoons, and put Superman and Raggedy Ann on the screen, has died at 97, his family said yesterday.
Mr. Waldman died Saturday of congestive heart failure at New Island Hospital in Bethpage, said Rosalie Waldman, his wife of 57 years.
Mr. Waldman was instrumental in the animation of Betty Boop, Popeye, Casper, Raggedy Ann and Andy, and the original Superman cartoon series, said Jerry Gladstone, president of American Royal Arts of Boca Raton, Fla., which represented Mr. Waldman's work.
''He was a true pioneer, both as an animator and as one who greatly affected the animation industry," Gladstone said.
Mr. Waldman was the last surviving head animator of the Max Fleischer Studios, a leader in the fledgling cartoon field of the 1920s that became rivals to Walt Disney in the 1930s with its Betty Boop and Popeye the Sailor series.
Hired at Fleischer in 1930, Mr. Waldman worked on a popular series in which audiences were invited to ''follow the bouncing ball" and sing along with lyrics on the screen.
While at Fleischer, Mr. Waldman also originated the design for Pudgy, Betty Boop's little dog.
Two of his cartoons at Fleischer, ''Educated Fish," 1937, and ''Hunky and Spunky," 1938, earned Academy Award nominations.
Mr. Waldman also assumed a major role in the animation of Superman and Popeye, and became the principal animator of ''Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy."
After World War II, Mr. Waldman joined Paramount's Famous Cartoon Studios, where he was instrumental in the character design of Casper, redesigning Seymour Reit's original drawing to the image known today. He was also the artist behind the syndicated comic strip Happy the Humbug, and the author of ''Eve," a cartoon novel published in 1943.
Mr. Waldman left Paramount in 1956 to animate commercials and cartoons for television.
In 1997, Mr. Waldman was honored with a Winsor McCay Award for lifetime achievement in the field of animation.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Waldman leaves two sons, Steve and Robert, and three grandchildren.