Right around 1960, when Dan DeCarlo was casting about for some new ideas to pitch as a teen comics series, he came up with a “level-headed, sweetnatured” teenage girl with a gaggle of friends who, after starring in Archie Comics’ Here’s Josie, would eventually become Josie and the Pussycats, one of Archie Comics’ long running teen character strips. Even when Josie and the Pussycats wasn’t being published as its own title, the characters were making appearances in other Archie comics, not to mention getting a Hanna-Barbera spinoff of their own.
But Dan would probably have admitted that the best thing about Josie was being married to the real version of her. Dan passed away in 2001, and now, according to Mark Evanier, Josie DeCarlo has also died peacefully in her sleep.
Josie Dumont was a French citizen when she met Dan via a blind date in Belgium shortly after the Battle of the Bulge. Photos of her at the time suggest her as an obvious model for all the beautiful women that Dan was known for drawing throughout his career. She was a direct inspiration for perhaps his most famous creation, Josie.
Dan even developed The Pussycats’ signature costumes after an outfit Josie wore to a shipboard costume ball on a cruise.