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'Peanuts' Animator Bill Melendez Dies At 91

Bill Melendez, the animator who was best known for bringing the 'Peanuts' characters to life in scores of movies and TV classics such as 'A Charlie Brown Christmas', has died. He was 91.

Melendez died of natural causes at a hospital in Santa Monica.

The Mexican-born American's long career as an animator began in 1938 when he was hired by Disney to work on short flims and animated features such as Bambi, Fantasia, Dumbo, and Pinocchio. Three years later, he joined Warner Brothers to animate on a number of Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig and Daffy Duck shorts.

He then went on to help produce the now annually broadcast Christmas special, 'A Charlie Brown Christmas', for which he won an Emmy. He also provided the voice for two 'Peanuts' characters, Snoopy and Woodstock in the 1965 special, and went on to do over 75 half-hour 'Peanuts' specials, including the 1989 miniseries 'This is America, Charlie Brown'.

Melendez was the only person 'Peanuts' creator Charles M. Schulz authorized to animated his characters.

He is survived by his wife Helen, two sons, six grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

September 4, 2008 |

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