Page last updated at 10:48 GMT, Thursday, 4 September 2008 11:48 UK

Peanuts' animator Melendez dies

Melendez on bringing Charlie Brown to life

US animator Bill Melendez, who drew Snoopy, Charlie Brown and other Peanuts characters in numerous movies and TV specials, has died at the age of 91.

Melendez was the only person Charles M Schulz, creator of the Peanuts comic strip, allowed to animate his work.

Born in Mexico in 1916, he began his career at Disney, working on Mickey Mouse cartoons and such animated features as Pinocchio and Fantasia.

He later moved to Warner Bros, where he drew Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck shorts.

Melendez left the studio in 1948, spending the next 15 years as a director and producer on more than 1,000 commercials and movies for various animation companies.

Yuletide favourite

One of his works, Gerald McBoing-Boing, won the 1951 Academy Award for best animated short.

A Charlie Brown Christmas
A Charlie Brown Christmas was first broadcast in December 1965
Melendez became friends with Schulz in 1959 while creating TV commercials for the Ford motor company that featured Peanuts characters.

He went on to produce, direct or animate some 70 Peanuts TV specials, beginning with 1965's A Charlie Brown Christmas.

The show, which broke new ground for a cartoon, went on to become a Yuletide favourite in the US.

Melendez created Emmy-winning specials based on the cartoon characters Cathy and Garfield, and was involved in animated versions of the Babar the Elephant books.

According to his publicist, the veteran animator died on Tuesday at St John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California.

Peanuts creator dies
13 Feb 00 |  Entertainment
Peanuts packs up
04 Jan 00 |  Entertainment

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