Bill Melendez, the only animator Charles M. Schulz would permit to work with his beloved Peanuts characters, died today at the age of 91. Best known for bringing Charlie Brown and his friends to life in classic television specials like A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Melendez earned eight Emmy Awards, 17 Emmy nominations, one Oscar nomination and two Peabody Awards over the course of his career.
Not only did Melendez bring Peanuts to the screen in more than 63 half-hour specials, five one-hour specials, four feature films and more than 372 commercials, he also provided the voices for Snoopy and Woodstock through the years. Besides his work with the Peanuts characters, he animated the TV specials Garfield on the Town, Cathy, Babar Comes to America and The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe, among others. In other words, this guy pretty much animated my entire childhood. Good grief, indeed.