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.
11/15/1916 - 09/02/2008
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