Thursday, September 4, 2008

Animator of Peanuts, Pinocchio, Porky Passes On

Bill Melendez helped one of the most expressive characters of all time get the point across, no words necessary.

The Mexican-born animator who voiced Snoopy's howls and sighs and was responsible for bringing A Charlie Brown Christmas and dozens of other Peanuts specials to the small screen died Tuesday at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, according to his publicist. He was 91.

Melendez got his start at the Walt Disney Co. in 1938 and worked on classics such as Fantasia and Pinocchio. He moved to Warner Bros. in 1941 and brought to life a host of other classic pen-and-ink personalities, including Bugs, Daffy and Porky.

The artist met Peanuts creator Charles Schulz in 1959 while making a series of commercials for Ford utilizing the comic strip giant's iconic characters, a meeting that proved serendipitous for both.

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