Josie DeCarlo, wife of legendary Archie Comics artist Dan DeCarlo and the inspiration for Josie of Josie and the Pussycats, has passed away in her sleep, according to comics writer Mark Evanier.
Evanier writes that Josie was the model for most of the beautiful women her husband drew throughout his comics career. She provided the idea for one of his most famous characters, Josie, when she created a pussycat costume to wear to a ball on a Caribbean cruise they took together in the late '50s.
After first pitching the character as the star of a syndicated comic strip, Dan DeCarlo ended up taking Josie to Archie Comics, where she made her debut in an issue of Archie's Pals n' Gals.
Josie's band, the Pussycats, came later, with costumes inspired by his wife's leopard-patterned outfit. Since then, they've become some of Archie's most popular characters, inspiring an animated show and a live-action movie.
When her husband passed away in 2001, the real-life Josie appeared at comic conventions to promote his work as long as her health would allow.