Bill Melendez, who was the animator for the classic Peanuts television specials, including A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, has died at the age of 91. In his early career, he worked on numerous Walt Disney animated features from the 1940s.
His Archive interview will be online soon and can be seen at Academy headquarters.
Bill Melendez spoke about his early years at Walt Disney Studios and later at Warner Bros., where he animated cartoons featuring popular characters including Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. He also discussed his work for United Productions of America and John Sutherland Productions. Next, Mr. Melendez described his early collaboration with comic strip artist Charles M. Schulz on commercials featuring the Peanuts characters, and explained how that became a career-long partnership on over fifty animated Peanuts television specials. He discussed in detail some of those projects, including A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. He also touched on the various Peanuts feature films and television series, including the animated miniseries This is America, Charlie Brown. Finally, Mr. Melendez spoke of other projects he has produced through his production company, including the animated The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, as well as animated specials featuring comic strip characters Garfield and Cathy.