Bill Melendez, best known for the beloved "Peanuts" TV specials, based on Charles M. Schulz's comic strip, spent 68 of his 91 years working in the field of animation. Born in Hermosillo, Mexico, Melendez was educated in the United States and began his film career as an assistant animator on the early 1940s Disney classics "Pinocchio," "Fantasia," "Dumbo," and "Bambi." But he spent the bulk of that decade with Warner Brothers, animating their cartoon mainstays Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety and Sylvester, and Porky Pig. Eventually Melendez found himself directing and animating commercials, at which he was wildly successful; he created thousands of advertising spots and won dozens of awards during the 1950s and 1960s. It was one of these commercials, a 1964 Ford spot using the "Peanuts" gang, that first brought Melendez into contact with Schulz and created a partnership that would flourish for the rest of their lives. The next year, the first "Peanuts" television special, "A Charlie Brown Christmas," aired on CBS and became an instant holiday staple; Melendez's production company oversaw more than thirty subsequent "Peanuts" television specials, with Melendez himself providing the voices of Snoopy and Woodstock. He was also responsible for launching the animated TV versions of comic-strip denizens Garfield and Cathy, as well as bringing Babar the Elephant to American television audiences. All four of these series garnered numerous Emmy nominations and wins, as did Melendez's non-Charlie Brown Christmas classic "Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus" in 1974.
Director (Feature Film)
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Producer (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Animation (Feature Film)
Production Companies (Feature Film)
Special Thanks (Special)
Director (TV Mini-Series)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Writer (TV Mini-Series)
Producer (TV Mini-Series)
Animation (TV Mini-Series)
Hired by Walt Disney to work on animated short films and feature-length films
Joined Leon Schlesinger's team at the Warner Brothers studios
Hired by United Productions of America to work on shorts, such as the Oscar-winning "Gerald McBoing-Boing" (1951)
Founded his own production company, Bill Melendez Productions
Produced the annually broadcast Christmas special "A Charlie Brown Christmas" (aired on CBS from 1965-1999, aired on ABC since 2000)
Began voicing the character, Snoopy for the Peanuts specials
Received first and only Academy Award nomination for Best Musical Score for "A Boy Named Charlie Brown"; also the first Peanuts feature film
First lent his voice to the character, Woodstock for the second feature, "Snoopy Come Home"; also directed
Directed the made-for-TV animated, "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" for the Children's Television Workshop
Produced the first half-hour animated televised special based on the Garfield comic strip, "Here Comes Garfield"
Directed the CBS animated series, "The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show"
Produced the popular comic strip for Television, the CBS animated special, "Cathy"
Produced the miniseries "This is America, Charlie Brown" (CBS), also voiced Snoopy and Woodstock
Animated the syndicated cartoon, "Merrie Melodies: Starring Bugs Bunny and Friends"
Produced and directed the animated television special, "Frosty Returns" (CBS)
Worked on the live-action/animated film, "Cool World"
Helmed the CBS animated special, "A Charlie Brown Valentine"; also produced and lent his voice
Final credit was as producer for the TV special "He's A Bully, Charlie Brown" (CBS)