Woody Woodpecker is a fictional animated character anthropomorphic woodpecker who appeared in theatrical short films produced by the Walter Lantz Studio and distributed by Universal Pictures during the golden age of American animation. He was originally portrayed as a crazed, mischievous hyperactive woodpecker bent on ruining the days of people who crossed him. As years passed, his personality simmered down to a more "funny cartoon animal" personality, no longer being as hyperactive until the late 90's and 00's.
Woody was created in 1940 by Lantz and storyboard artist Ben "Bugs" Hardaway, who had previously laid the groundwork for two other screwball characters, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, at the Warner Bros. cartoon studio in the late 1930s. Woody's character and design evolved over the years, from an insane bird with an unusually garish design to a more refined looking and acting character in the vein of the later Chuck Jones version of Bugs Bunny. Woody was originally voiced by prolific voice actor Mel Blanc who, after signing an exclusive contract with Warner Brothers, was succeeded by Danny Webb, Kent Rogers, Ben Hardaway, and Grace Stafford in the shorts. After Grace, he was voiced by Billy West, Eric Kelso, and Eric Bauza.