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Santa Monica News

"Peanuts" Animator Bill Melendez Dies At Age 91
Posted by Vanessa Rodriguez on Sep 7, 2008 - 11:24:56 PM

SANTA MONICA—Bill Melendez, animator and cartoonist best known for his work on character voices such as Snoopy and Woodstock on “Peanuts,” has died at the age of 91.


Melendez’s publicist Amy Goldsmith states that Melendez died at St. John’s Health Center on September 2, 2008 from natural causes.

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Courtesy of http://www.stuff.co.nz/images/754062.jpg


Bill Melendez, whose actual name is Jose Cuauhtémoc Melendez, was born on November 15, 1916. Melendez was born in Hermosillo, the capital of Sonora in Northern Mexico. He attended the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles. Melendez, whose career started at Disney Studios in 1938, did some of the drawings for "Fantasia," "Pinocchio," "Bambi" and "Dumbo," as well as many other Disney shorts and films. After leaving Disney, Melendez helped Warner Brothers by drawing shorts starring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig.


In 1959 while creating a Ford Motor Co. TV commercial featuring “Peanuts” characters, Melendez met “Peanuts” creator Charles M. Schulz. The two became friends and Melendez officially became the only person Schulz authorized to animate his characters.


In 1964, Melendez, along with his partner Lee Mendelson, created his own Bill Melendez Productions Company and created his first project, “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” in which he won an Emmy Award and a George Foster Peabody Award.


He went on to do the voice of Snoopy, who never really spoke but simply uttered unintelligible words and expressed howls, sighs and sobs. In the 1970s, Melendez directed an animated version of "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" with Warner Brothers. Among comic strip characters, Melendez was most well known for his animation of Cathy and Garfield. And in 1992 Melendez created an animated feature called "Frosty’s Return."

Bill Melendez was also a former faculty member for the Cinema Arts Department at the University of Southern California. Among all his productions, Melendez had earned around 19 Emmy nominations and had won around six awards for his works.


Melendez is survived by his wife Helen, his two sons Steven Melendez and Rodrigo Melendez (a retired US Navy Rear Admiral), his six grandchildren and his 11 great-grandchildren.


Bill Melendez

11/15/1916 - 09/02/2008



 

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