|First Animation Art
|First Quality Art from the Animated Film!
|Celebrating our 38th year in
Cedar Rapids, Iowa!
|Please call or email to confirm availability when making your selection.
Our one of a kind art sells quickly and although we do our best to
keep our website up to date,
all art is subject to previous sale.
|The talented Bill Melendez
|OSCAR® NOMINATED and EMMY® AWARD WINNING ANIMATOR and
DIRECTOR BILL MELENDEZ DIES
Spending more than 70 Years in the Entertainment Industry, Bill Melendez is Best Known for Giving the
PeanutsTM Characters Life Including Classics: “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and “It’s the Great Pumpkin,
LOS ANGELES – September 3, 2008 – Bill Melendez, considered a pioneer in animation and best known for
bringing the PEANUTSTM characters to life, died early Tuesday morning September 2nd at St. John’s hospital
in Santa Monica. Doctors say Melendez died “peacefully.” He was 91 years old preparing to celebrate his 92nd
birthday in November.
With his trade mark handle bar mustache, Melendez was a phenomenal talent whose unique style and distinct
sense of humor inspired a generation. Melendez began his career at Walt Disney Studios. As a talented
young animator he worked on Pinocchio, Fantasia, Bambi, Dumbo and classic Mickey Mouse and Donald
Years later, Melendez expanded his resume when he moved to Warner Bros. to animate other famous
cartoons such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig.
In 1948 Melendez left Warner Bros. and over the next decade and a half he served as a director and producer
on more than 1,000 commercials and films for United Productions of America (UPA), Playhouse Pictures and
John Sutherland Productions. It was at UPA that Melendez started doing work for New York-based J. Walter
Thompson ad agency, whose client included Ford Motor Co. The car maker expressed interest in using
PEANUTS characters to sell its cars on television. In 1959 Melendez prepared his animation work and showed
it to PEANUTS creator Charles M. Schulz.
A partnership and friendship followed and as a result, Melendez gave the PEANUTS kids life in more than 63
half-hour specials, five one-hour specials, four feature films and more than 372 commercials. Favorites include
“A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” “She’s a Good Skate, Charlie Brown,” and “You’
re a Good Sport, Charlie Brown.” In addition to creating the cartoons, Melendez also provided the voices for
Snoopy and Woodstock.
Over the years, Melendez also animated “Garfield on the Town,” “Cathy,” “Babar Comes to America,” and “The
Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe,” among others.
Melendez, who was the only animator allowed to work with the PEANUTS characters won numerous awards
and accolades including: 17 Emmy Award nominations and eight (8) Emmy® Award wins, one (1) Oscar®
Award nomination, two (2) Peabody Awards, one (1) Clio, three (3) National Cartoonist Society Awards, and
more than 150 Advertising Awards.
Under the leadership of his son and other trusted executives, Bill Melendez Productions, Inc., its sister studio
Melendez Films in London and Sopwith Productions (Melendez’s art distribution unit) will continue to animate,
direct and produce features and commercials.
Born Jose Cuautemoc in 1916 in Sonora, Mexico, his family moved to Arizona in 1928 and then to Los
Angeles in the early 1930s. Melendez trained at the Chouinard Art Studio (now CalArts) and is a former faculty
member of the Cinema Arts Department at USC.
Melendez is survived by his wife of 68 years Helen, two sons: Steven Melendez and (Ret.) Navy Rear Admiral
Rodrigo Melendez, six grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. A memorial service will take place for family
Donations can be made in Bill Melendez's name to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
|A note from our friend Sandy Thome, head of the Bill Melendez art program here
in Cedar Rapids, Iowa:
With profound sadness, we said goodbye to our very much loved boss, Bill Melendez,
as he peacefully died in the early morning hours of September 2nd with his wife and
son at his side.
I personally feel very fortunate and blessed to have been able to share many good
times with him over the past 16 years, let alone the opportunity I was given to work with
such a generous man. Bill made it is so easy to admire him: his "bon vivant" outlook
on life, his storytelling, his passion for his work and his ability to treat everyone with
respect and dignity; and this is only the beginning of his wonderful traits that he shared
over the years.
Bill would want us to celebrate his life today. Enjoy the day with the same "love of life"
passion he had: smile and laugh, tell some great stories, go out and enjoy a delicious
lunch; perhaps tip a very dry vodka martini with a lemon twist as you toast Bill's life.