William “Buck” Biggers has passed away in Plymouth, Mass. at the age of 85. Biggers was co-creator of the “Underdog” cartoon, which debuted on NBC in 1964 and aired in syndication through 1973. It was followed-up by a Disney live action film starring Jason Lee, Jim Belushi, and Amy Adams in 2007.
The classic cartoon character was the caped alter-ego of a mind-mannered shoeshine boy — make that shoe-shine canine — who appeared any time Sweet Polly Purebred was in trouble. The character’s most infamous line was “There’s no need to fear; Underdog is here.”
Biggers later signed on with NBC as vice president of promotion and creative services. He was also an accomplished writer, with two novels under his belt and credits in Family Circle and Reader’s Digest. A friend tells the Associated Press Biggers died unexpectedly at his home on Feb. 10, 2013.
The “Underdog” characters have been passed around a bit, as far as ownership is concerned. Lorne Michaels bought the rights in 1995, then later sold to Goldenbooks. DreamWorks Animation took ownership in 2012.