Jose 'Bill' Melendez, 'Peanuts' Animator, 91
Animator, director and producer Jose "Bill" Melendez breathed life into the two-dimensional drawings of Charles Schulz's Peanuts characters. He was the only animator Schulz trusted to bring his characters to life — a trust that led Melendez, and partner Lee Mendelson, to create more than 70 Peanuts productions, including four feature films.
Melendez was also the voice behind Snoopy's laughs, sobs and howls. He won four Emmy Awards and two Peabody Awards — not to mention an Oscar nomination — for his work on Peanuts. Perhaps the most memorable at this time of year is the annually broadcast Christmas special, A Charlie Brown Christmas. The half-hour animated show paved the way for one of the most popular franchises in animation history.
Early in his career, Melendez was hired by Walt Disney to work on animated films, including Bambi, Fantasia and Dumbo. Melendez later worked with Warner Brothers studios on projects including Bugs Bunny and Porky Pig. He also worked on Cathy and Garfield, winning Emmys for his work on both.
Melendez died Sept. 2, 2008. He was 91.
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