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Bill Melendez, Peanuts animator passes away

Bill Melendez, the only person Charles Schulz authorized to animate his Peanuts comic strip has passed away at the age of 91. His career started in 1938 at Walt Disney Studios but went on to work for Warner Bros and United Productions of America, Playhouse Pictures and John Sutherland Productions where he was a director and producer for 1,000 commercials. In 1964 he founded his own company with Lee Mendelson and they produced, directed and animated 70 Peanuts specials, four movies and hundreds of commercials.

Bill also worked on animation projects with other comic characters such as Cathy and Garfield.

Community Comments

#1 Larry Levine
@ 7:19 am

The loss of Bill Melendez hits us on so many levels. Bill was part of animation history: whether it’s Disney, Warner Bros, UPA, television’s earliest animated commercials or the Peanuts specials & feature films we have all grown up with–Bill was there(both in creating these classic cartoons & fighting for the rights of his fellow animators).

Most importantly, we have lost a true gentleman. I had the honor of meeting Bill several times & he was the real deal, the nicest person you would ever want to meet.

Rest in peace, Bill.

#2 Dennis W
@ 10:16 am

That’s too bad to hear of this. Peanuts was a huge part of my growing up and the animated specials that Bill Melendez produced were a very big part of that.

“Bill… I’ll watch The Great Pumpkin in your honor!”

#3 Garey Mckee
@ 7:41 pm

This is indeed sad news. Like Dennis said, Bill Melendez’ work animating Peanuts was a big part of my childhood as well. His work on the Peanuts films and specials resonates with the same poignancy as Schulz’ work on the strip. A very sad loss to the industry.

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