Top 50 Cartoon Characters of All Time

Modern and Classic Cartoon Characters

Cartoon characters are as endearing to adults as children. Many times we can relate to them. Most of the time we just love to laugh at their antics and misfortune. Following is the list of top 50 cartoon characters of all time, judged for their influence, their popularity, and their hilarity.

Bugs Bunny

Bugs Bunny - Looney Tunes
Bugs Bunny - Looney Tunes. Warner Bros.

"What's up, doc?" Bugs Bunny is, perhaps, the most recognizable and famous cartoon character. were first created as lead-ins to feature films. Bugs first appeared as a rabbit with no name in 1938 in "Porky's Hare Hunt." Tex Avery later named him Bugs Bunny after the infamous West Coast mobster. Decades later, Looney Tunes cartoons became a Saturday morning staple. Bugs Bunny is still tops.

Homer Simpson

Homer Simpson
Homer Simpson. Twentieth Century Fox

Homer Simpson is known throughout the world. Having been on TV for over 20 seasons, this patriarch is not the father who knows best, but he certainly tries. Homer Simpson is based on creator Matt Groening's father, who is also named Homer. And if you look at Homer's profile, a bit of his hair and his ear form the initials "M G."

Mickey Mouse

Mickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse. Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Mickey Mouse represents Disney in all its forms. He started life in black and white in 1928's Steamboat Willie, the first synchronized sound cartoon. Mickey Mouse was first voiced by Walt Disney, himself, then later by Jim MacDonald and Wayne Allwine. Mickey Mouse isn't just a cartoon character; he's an icon.

Bart Simpson

Bart Simpson
Bart Simpson. ©1999 20TH CENTURY FOX FILM CORP.

The second favorite character from The Simpsons is Bart. His catchphrases are "Ay caramba!" and "Eat my shorts!" He opens every episode at the chalkboard, writing out a punishment that might say, "I will finish what I sta..." He is a prankster, but a loyal friend and brother. We all knew a kid like Bart, and sometimes wished we were like him.

Charlie Brown

Portrait of American cartoonist Charles M Schulz
1978: Portrait of American cartoonist Charles M Schulz (1922 - 2001), creator of the 'Peanuts' comic strip, sitting at his studio drawing table with a picture of his character Charlie Brown and some awards behind him. Schulz created the comic strip in 1950. CBS Photo Archive / Getty Images

Introduced on TV in A Charlie Brown Christmas in 1965, this comic strip staple became a holiday tradition. The kid who never kicks the football, whose dog is more popular than he is and who has a crush on the red-headed girl steals our hearts every year with a variety of cartoon specials.

Fred Flintstone

The Flintstones
The Flintstones. Turner Broadcasting

Fred Flintstone is the forerunner to Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin. The Flintstones premiered in 1960, modeled after The Honeymooners, the first made-for-TV primetime cartoon. Fred was the first portly animated husband who had an attractive wife, not enough brains for his schemes and a bad temper. Yet, he loved his family.

The Grinch

The Grinch
The Grinch. Cartoon Network

Dr. Seuss created many characters who made the leap from books to TV, but none as easily and successfully as The Grinch. How the Grinch Stole Christmas animates Dr. Seuss' book about the grouchy green cave-dweller who attempts to ruin Christmas for the Whos down in Whoville. The holiday special, starring Boris Karloff, first aired in 1966. Now an annual holiday favorite, his turn from selfish to selfless promotes the true meaning of Christmas.


Popeye Reaching For Spinach
Popeye reaches for a can of spinach in a still from an unidenitified Popeye film, c. 1945. Paramount Pictures / Getty Images

Like many TV cartoon characters, Popeye began life as a comic strip. Then in 1933, he starred in a Betty Boop cartoon, Popeye the Sailor. His catchphrases include, "Well, blow me down!" and "I eats my spinach!" His bulging forearms, squinty eyes, and a staccato chuckle are recognized by many generations.

Wile E. Coyote

Wile E. Coyote
Wile E. Coyote. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Poor Wile E. Coyote. We don't want him to catch the Road Runner, but we sure feel bad for him. Director Chuck Jones created the tenacious coyote along with Michael Maltese. The Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote were introduced in 1948's Fast and Furry-Ous.

Rocky and Bullwinkle

Rocky and Bullwinkle with Flowers
Rocky and Bullwinkle with Flowers. Classic Media

Stan and Ollie. Hope and Crosby. Martin and Lewis. In the animated world, Rocky and Bullwinkle are the comedy team who saves the day. Rocky's unending optimism coupled with Bullwinkle's lucky mishaps save their pelts every time. The duo starred in Rocky and His Friends, which premiered in 1959. Their cartoon included the segments: "Fractured Fairytales," "Aesop and Son," "Peabody's Improbable History" and "Mr. Know It All."

SpongeBob SquarePants

SpongeBob SquarePants
SpongeBob SquarePants. Nickelodeon

Though several channels exist that provide entertainment made for the Y-rating crowd, one cartoon has endured for more than a decade, becoming more famous than its Nickelodeon fellows: SpongeBob SquarePants. SpongeBob is joined by Patrick Star, Squidward Tentacles, Mr. Eugene Krabs, Sandy Cheeks and the other citizens of Bikini Bottom. The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie was released in 2004, and  was released in 2015. SpongeBob's undying optimism and staccato laugh keep us coming back for more.

Eric Cartman

Eric Cartman
Eric Cartman. Comedy Central

Eric Cartman is usually the villain on . Since 1997, creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have had Cartman abducted by aliens, sent to fat camp, imagining he's dead and owning an amusement park. His unemotional, pragmatic view toward his achieving his goals has resulted in many dire circumstances, as well as catch phrases, like, "Screw you guys. I'm going home."

Daffy Duck

Daffy Duck
Daffy Duck. Turner Broadcasting

Daffy Duck is to Bugs Bunny as Wile E. Coyote is to the Road Runner. He debuted in 1937's Porky's Duck Hunt. Over the decades he transformed from a clumsy clown to the sarcastic character we know today. Does Daffy envy Bugs? Is jealousy at the heart of his bitter attitude toward Bugs? Regardless, his tantrums and schemes make for great cartoons.

Porky Pig

Screenshot from the PD cartoon Porky Pig's Feat (1943)
Screenshot from the PD cartoon Porky Pig's Feat (1943). By OswaldLR (BD) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Porky Pig has been stuttering, "That's all folks!" for the better part of a century, but my 6-year old son laughs as if he's the first to discover him. That's the appeal of the sweet little swine. Friz Freleng and Bob Clampett brought Porky to life in 1935's I Haven't Got a Hat. He was famous in his own right, starring in films like Porky in Wackyland. He was also cast opposite his Looney Tunes friends, in films like Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 Century.

Scooby-Doo and Shaggy

Scooby Doo
Scooby Doo. Turner Broadcasting

Scooby-Doo and Shaggy are inseparable, in their antics and on this list. They're funny on two levels. The first is, seen through the eyes of a child, they're just silly cowards who somehow always save the day and remain best friends. But watch Scooby-Doo as an adult, and you'll wonder if the van driving, spacey talk and continual snacking are lifestyle symptoms of the same folks who inspired Pineapple Express. The original 1969 title, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?, was a parody of then popular TV series Car 54, Where Are You?.

Mr. Magoo

Mr. Magoo
Mr. Magoo. UPA Productions of America, Inc.

Blind, adventurous and oblivious are not a safe mix for an old dude, but Mr. Magoo makes it work. Time after again he misses the bullet, so to speak, and we laugh all the way. Mr. Magoo was introduced to audiences in UPA's 1949 cartoon The Ragtime Bear and was originally voiced by Jim Backus (Gilligan's Island).

Beavis and Butt-head

Beavis (Right And Butt Head From The Movie Beavis And Butt Head Do America
1997 Beavis (Right) And Butt-Head From The Movie Beavis And Butt-Head Do America. Getty Images / Getty Images

Mike Judge () brought us these stuttering slacker teenage boys on MTV from 1993 until 1997. They worked at a fast food restaurant, went to school, watched videos and drove adults mad. Beavis and Butt-head were even popular enough to spawn a feature film, , in 1996. The boys returned to MTV with new episodes on October 27, 2011.

Fat Albert

Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids
Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.

"Hey, hey, hey! It's Faaaaaaaat Albert!" Who doesn't know that quote, that theme? Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids was created, voiced and hosted by Bill Cosby. The Saturday morning cartoon spoke to kids of color, living in not-so-Bel Air conditions. Forgetting the 2004 live-action movie, the cartoon is a classic that taught lessons in a warm and funny way.

Betty Boop

Betty Boop Balloon in Parade
A balloon of Betty Boop sitting on the moon floats in the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Lee Snider / Getty Images

Betty Boop was a star in the 1930s when talkies overtook silent films. Her black and white sex appeal, cutesy voice, and ditzy charm made her a hit. Now her image is iconic, appearing on all kinds of merchandise people buy without ever really seeing even one cartoon. Her character was parodied in the raunchy cartoon .

George Jetson

The Jetsons
circa 1962: Cartoon family the Jetsons, comprised of George, Jane, Judy, Elroy, and Astro, flying in a space car in a space age city, in a still from the Hanna-Barbera animated television show, 'The Jetsons'. Hulton Archive / Getty Images

The Flinstones took the all-American family back in time, but The Jetsons took it to the future. George Jetson was like Fred Flintstone and every other sitcom father we've seen. He worked to take care of his family, and only wanted some peace and quiet from time to time. But his kids, wife, dog and boss kept him from it. Famously being trapped on a treadmill (who hasn't been?) in the opening credits, it's easy to remember George Jetson.

Pink Panther

Pink Panther Balloon in Macy's Parade
Pink Panther Balloon in Macy's Parade. Gail Mooney/Corbis/VCG / Getty Images

Like Fat Albert, Pink Panther is a character who inspires a tune in your head as soon as you see him, this one in a jazzy saxophone. was a series of animated shorts, designed to appear at the opening and closing credits of live-action films starring Inspector Clouseau. His popularity allowed him to become his own cartoon, still airing on Boomerang.


Gumby and Pokey
Gumby and Pokey. Classic Media

was a pioneer in stop-motion animation for TV. He and his horse Pokey were heroes in their own fictional world, but for television, they ushered in a new era of animation


Underdog. Classic Media

We can all relate to Underdog, the guy who is underestimated by his enemies, only to prove them all wrong. He's sweet when he's wooing Polly Purebread. He's cunning and brave when he's defeating Simon Barsinister.

Tweety Bird and Sylvester

Sylvester and Tweety
Sylvester and Tweety.

Another duo Chuck Jones created, Tweety Bird, and Sylvester, keep each other on their toes, with Sylvester losing out on a yummy bird meal every time. Tweety's baby voice and Sylvester's slobber talk keep us laughing.

Speed Racer

Speed Racer
Speed Racer. Lionsgate

Most children of the '60s and '70s remember Speed Racer and his Mach 5. Plus, the cartoon introduced us to the world of anime. Thanks to a live-action movie in 2008 and a recent cartoon series, Speed Racer is still part of the zeitgeist today.

Josie and the Pussycats

Josie and the Pussycats
Josie and the Pussycats.

Josie was the Beyoncé of her times, leading a girl pop group and taking on the world. I loved that she wore that groovy cat costume. Josie and the Pussycats were part Scooby-Doo and part The Monkees. The characters still inspire TV today, for instance, in the form of Foxxy Love on Drawn Together.

Heckle and Jeckle

Heckle and Jeckle
Heckle and Jeckle. Pricegrabber

In the tradition of Crosby and Hope or Martin and Lewis, Heckle and Jeckle defeat their opponents with wit and style. The big mystery of these magpies is how they became friends: one has a Brooklyn accent, the other a British accent. Perhaps an origin prequel would answer this question? Hello, Terrytoons?

Top Cat

Top Cat
Top Cat.

Top Cat is another product of '60s Hanna-Barbera animation. He's the leader of an alley cat gang, who just wants to make a quick buck. But thanks to Officer Dibble, their plans never come to fruition. Top Cat is cool, but his morals are a tad looser than his gang's, leading to occasional mutiny. Nevertheless, T.C. retains his hold as captain.

Ren and Stimpy

Nickelodeon Ren and Stimpy
L-R: Ren and Stimpy. Nickelodeon

Whenever I talk cartoons with other fans, inevitably enter the conversation. Their outrageous antics, unbridled toilet humor, and their "happy dance" make this cat and dog team a long-lasting favorite.

Winnie the Pooh

Winnie the Pooh
Winnie the Pooh. Michael Buckner / Getty Images

When you hear the name "Winnie the Pooh," you may think of the honey-colored bear who wears a red shirt. But more accurately, you should think "cha-ching!" This little bear who started as a doodle in a beloved children's book has been a thriving franchise for Disney since they bought rights to him and his woodland friends in the '60s. Winnie the Pooh has starred in many cartoons and specials, both on TV and in feature films. The most memorable TV cartoons were Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day (1970), Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1970) and Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too 1975. In 2011, Disney released Winnie the Pooh, a very successful movie that returned to the roots of A. A. Milne's original stories.



Arthur is a highly recognizable character from his own children's book series who made the leap to a TV cartoon on PBS in Arthur. And if you're wondering, yes, he's an aardvark. Arthur premiered in 1996, becoming an instant hit. Since then Arthur, the character, has become a mascot for reading programs. The series continues to air on PBS Kids.

Bill from 'Schoolhouse Rock'

Bill - Schoolhouse Rock
Bill - Schoolhouse Rock.

Schoolhouse Rock was a set of animated shorts that helped educate kids in the '60s and '70s about conjunctions, the magic number three and, especially the legislative process. The latter lesson starred a rolled-up paper named Bill, and showed how he went from the House to the Senate and eventually became a law. His "I'm Just a Bill" tune is most memorable. The award-winning educational series was the result of a partnership between Michael Eisner, former chairman of the board at Walt Disney Company, and cartoon legend Chuck Jones. The original series aired from 1973 to 1985.

Space Ghost

Space Ghost
Space Ghost. Adult Swim

Sure, Space Ghost was a popular character in '60s Hanna-Barbera cartoons, when he battled villains in outer space. But his stint as a late-night talk show host on in 1994 on Cartoon Network (which would become Adult Swim) sent him into the stratosphere of stardom. He interviewed human guests (via a TV screen), along with his co-hosts Moltar and Zorak. The characters' deadpan delivery and random laser beams helped make the cartoon a cult sensation.

Yogi Bear and Boo Boo

Yogi Bear
Yogi Bear. Turner Broadcasting

Another Hanna-Barbera staple was the team of Yogi Bear and Boo Boo. The pair first debuted on The Huckleberry Hound Show in 1958, then earned their own cartoon titled The Yogi Bear Show in 1961. Yogi (smarter than the average bear) continually found himself in trouble and Boo Boo usually figured a way out. The duo lived in Jellystone Park. Yogi's character is most likely based on the Ed Norton character from The Honeymooners, another reason he was so lovable. Yogi and Boo Boo also starred in Yogi and His Friends, Yogi's Gang, just Yogi Bear and in 2010 their own Yogi Bear feature film.

Mighty Mouse

Mighty Mouse
Mighty Mouse.

"Here I come to save the day!" Before Andy Kaufman lip-synched Mighty Mouse's theme on Saturday Night Live, Mighty Mouse had been through many incarnations. Part mouse, part superhero, Mighty Mouse kept Mouseville safe from a variety of cat villains. Mighty Mouse was originally named Super Mouse when he made his debut in the Mouse of Tomorrow in 1942.

Donald Duck

Donald Duck Honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for His Achievements in Film
Donald Duck Honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for His Achievements in Film. WireImage / Getty Images

As Mickey Mouse's cynical sidekick, Donald Duck was always my favorite. (Much like Oscar the Grouch was my favorite on Sesame Street. Hm, issues?) It wasn't the raspy voice or fashionable duds, but his eye-rolling attitude and exasperation with most of the world that made him so relatable. Donald Duck made his debut in Walt Disney's Silly Symphony cartoon segment, "The Wise Little Hen," in 1934. His most memorable turn may be as Scrooge McDuck in Mickey's Christmas Carol, released in 1983.

Alvin (the Chipmunk)

Alberto E. Rodriguez
Alvin. Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

Alvin, ​the lead singer of Alvin and the Chipmunks, is the guts of the operation. Simon is the brains, and Theodore is the heart. The Chipmunks were such successful recording stars, they were given their own cartoon in 1961. These rodents have continued to make cartoons and movies, up through their most recent feature film in 2011, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked.

Woody Woodpecker

Woody Woodpecker Balloon Floating Through Times Square
Original Caption) New York: Perennial crowd favorite Woody Woodpecker greets the crowd as he floats past One Times Square during the 63rd Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Bettmann Archive / Getty Images

Another anti-hero, Woody Woodpecker lives to cause trouble. His most famous trait is no doubt his cackling, stuttering laugh. Walter Lantz created Woody Woodpecker. Although Mel Blanc, then Ben Hardaway, originally voiced the character, his wife, Grace, voiced Woody Woodpecker from 1948's ​Banquet Busters through 1972.

Tom and Jerry

Tom and Jerry
Tom and Jerry. Turner Broadcasting

This cat and mouse team were the inspiration for The Simpsons Itchy and Scratchy (without the gore). Tom and Jerry chase each other, torment each other and generally try to defeat the other. Though Tom has the upper hand more than, say, Sylvester, he still has yet to make a meal of Jerry. Tom and Jerry have had many incarnations, beginning with the Academy award-winning MGM shorts in the 1940s to the most recent episodes on Cartoon Network.

Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale

Boris and Natasha
Boris and Natasha. Classic Media

Boris and Natasha are portrayed the way Americans saw Russians during the Cold War. That doesn't keep these villains from from dispatching some thickly accented humor. Boris was voiced by Paul Fees, who was also Burgermeister Meisterburger in Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Legendary June Foray, who has played Granny on all the cartoons, was the voice of Natasha.

Felix the Cat

Felix the Cat
Felix the Cat. Otto Messmer, converted to vector by Tom Edwards, public domain

Felix the Cat is a black and white cat created during the silent film era of the early 20th Century. His simple form and face make him easily recognizable, and his magical bag helps him create all sorts of mischief. He was also the first cartoon character to gain enough popularity to award him a feature film in 1928.

Angelica Pickles

Clockwise from bottom left: Dil Pickles, Kimi Finster, Susie Carmichael, Tommy Pickles, Chuckie Finster, Angelica Pickles, Lil DeVille, Phil DeVille. Nickelodeon

Why do bullies get all the good lines? Angelica Pickles is the bossy, spoiled toddler from Rugrats. She is the most familiar character from Rugrats, but possibly only because she is the meanest and talks the most. (She's older than the babies.) Rugrats crawled onto Nickelodeon in 1991. The lil' crew went on to star in The Rugrats Movie, Rugrats in Paris and Rugrats Go Wild.

The Powerpuff Girls

Powerpuff Girls
Powerpuff Girls. Cartoon Network

Girl power times three. Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup keep Townsville, USA safe from evil while dealing with the pressures of kindergarten. The visual style of The Powerpuff Girls sets it apart, though, along with the abundance of tongue-in-cheek humor. It's part high art and part drug-induced pop art. The Powerpuff Girls first premiered in 1998 and can still be seen on Boomerang.


Madame Tussauds Las Vegas Debuts Spider-Man, The attraction's Newest Marvel Super Hero Figure, On The Venetian Las Vegas' Campanile Tower
Madame Tussauds debuts Spider-Man, the attractions newest super Marvel super hero figure, on the Campanile Tower at The Venetian Las Vegas on May 2, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. WireImage / Getty Images

Spider-Man is the everyman superhero. He started out as the geek next door and was transformed into a mega-strong, mega-agile dude. Spidey first starred in 1967's Spider-Man, then came Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (1981), Spider-Man: The Animated Series (1995) and Spider-Man: The New Animated Series (2003).

George of the Jungle

George of the Jungle
George of the Jungle.

If you doubt the popularity of George of the Jungle, just watch the new cartoon on Cartoon Network, or rent the DVD of the live-action film starring Brendan Fraser. George of the Jungle originated in 1967, a parody of the Tarzan story. He's known for swinging on vines and slamming into trees, as well as his rhythmic theme song, "George, George, George of the Jungle... watch out for that tree!"


Superman Logo and emblem of the House of El.
Superman Logo and emblem of the House of El.

Superman is the ultimate superhero because of his unerring loyalty to doing good. But is he a true superhero since he only has powers because he's an alien, from another planet? Or is he just a guy who fell to the ground on the right planet? I'm sure fanboys debate this issue frequently, but as long as any incarnation of Superman includes a broad chest, incorruptible morals, and old-fashioned chivalry, I'm there. Like his other DC Comics friends, Superman starred in Super Friends and Justice League of America. His own series have been Superman (1988) and Superman: The Animated Series (1996). But who could forget The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure (1967)?


Batman. Turner Broadcasting

Can you imagine a time when Batman wasn't the Dark Knight we know now? Hard to believe the many transformations this superhero has seen through the years, especially on television. The caped crusader has had several of his own cartoons: Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2008), The Batman (2004), Batman Beyond (1999), Batman: The Animated Series (1992) and (2013).


Daria. Courtesy of MTV

Daria Morgendorffer was first introduced to MTV audiences on . In 1997, she earned her own half-hour animated comedy. She's smart and witty, a teenage girl trying to figure out how to be her own person and still have a boyfriend at the same time while dealing with stressed-out parents.

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman. Turner Broadcasting

Wonder Woman gives little girls their own superhero, one who is strong and gorgeous with lots of cool toys. She stars in Super Friends, Justice League of America and Young Justice.

Bobby Hill

Bobby Hill
Bobby Hill. Twentieth Century Fox

Bobby Hill is my favorite character on , which aired on FOX from 1997 to 2009. He's the SpongeBob of the group, always optimistic, a dreamer. He starred in my favorite episode, the Emmy-nominated "Bobby Goes Nuts." If I could ask creator Mike Judge one question, it would be, "What will Bobby Hill be when he grows up?" He has so many aspirations, I just can't imagine the answer.