LIVING WITH A LEGEND is the non-fiction musings of Leslie E. Stern growing up in a multi-ethnic home amidst the genius of Iwao Takamoto, designer of Scooby-Doo and 85% of the Hanna-Barbera characters we all know and love.
It tells the story of her step-father's emotion influence on her and never before told humorous anecdotes of her youth. It includes many personal drawings done by Iwao, as well as never before seen family photographs. LIVING WITH A LEGEND is filled with funny cartoons and holiday cards done by Iwao and by other animators for Iwao.
A must read for any cartoon lover and a pleasure to read for anyone with a heart.
"I smiled through every page of LIVING WITH A LEGEND, recognizing the very special man I was privileged to know, Iwao Takamoto, but seeing him through the highly personal perspective of someone who knew him so much better. Leslie Stern has not simply written a loving, funny, and poignant portrait of an important American artist, she has wonderfully set down the record of a unique American family, one whose strength came through its very diversity. To paraphrase Iwao himself, Living With a Legend was not written through the hands, but through the heart."
-- Michael Mallory, Author of My Life with a Thousand Characters
"Iwao Takamoto was a man of many talents....including being a magnificent artist, a thoroughly engaging conversationalist and an amazing storyteller. Beyond his talent though, Iwao was a wonderfully kind and generous human being. Always cheerful, a chat with Iwao was the highlight of my day for many years. In this book, Leslie Stern has documented a life of an inspiring man, husband, and step-father. Those of us who had the privilege of knowing Iwao are all the better for it. By reading Leslie's book I'm inspired again by the story of a truly unique American whose well-lived life will hearten us all."
--Sander Schwartz, President of Kids & Family Entertainment at FremantleMedia Enterprises and past President of Warner Bros. Animation
If Scooby-Doo could talk, he might be just as grateful for being birthed by Hanna-Barbera's master animator, Iwao Takamoto, as Leslie Stern is for having him for her step-father. In Living with a Legend she doesn't shrink from describing how he taught her to slurp udon noodles and counseled her when her marriage went cold. We are left to appreciate that the spirits in Iwao's characters came from a wise man who spent time in a Japanese internment camp during WWII and - against all odds -- came out with a walloping sense of humor. Leslie's heartwarming book of memories about the stoic, funny, warm-hearted man who married her mother covers a family, a career and an inside view of Hanna-Barbera.
--Loretta Paraguassu -- writer, artist, filmmaker, and former L.A. Times columnist