First Animation Art
First Quality Art from the Animated Film!
2036 Fifth Avenue SE  
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52403

Phone 319-862-1169
319-363-6136
Toll Free 1-888-921-1001

Celebrating
our 36th 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, Charlie Brown.”

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 Duck cartoons.
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 only.

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.