Bill Melendez

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José Cuauhtémoc "Bill" Meléndez (November 15, 1916 – September 2, 2008)[1] was a Mexican–American character animator, voice actor, film director and producer known for his cartoons for Walt Disney Productions (working on four Disney films Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo and Bambi), Warner Bros. Cartoons, UPA and the Peanuts series. Melendez provided the voices of Snoopy and Woodstock in the latter as well. In a career spanning over 60 years, he won six Primetime Emmy Awards and was nominated for thirteen more. In addition, he was nominated for an Oscar and five Grammy Awards. The Peanuts television specials, A Charlie Brown Christmas and What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown?, which he directed, were each honored with a Peabody Award.

Bill Meléndez
Born
José Cuauhtémoc Meléndez

(1916-11-15)November 15, 1916
DiedSeptember 2, 2008(2008-09-02) (aged 91)
Other namesC. Melendez
J.C. Melendez
OccupationAnimator, film director, producer, voice actor
Years active1938–2006
Employer
Spouse(s)
Helen Melendez
(m. 1940)
Children2; including Steven C. Melendez

Early lifeEdit

A native of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, Meléndez was educated in American public schools in Douglas, Arizona.[2] He later attended the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles (which would later become California Institute of the Arts).[2]

Disney, Warner Bros., UPA and commercial animation workEdit

On completion of his studies, Meléndez was hired by Disney in 1938 where he worked on what are now considered classics: Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, and Bambi.[3] Following the 1941 Disney strike, Meléndez was hired by Leon Schlesinger Productions, later known as Warner Bros. Cartoons, where he served as animator on the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series. He worked in Bob Clampett's unit until Clampett's departure, upon which he moved to the Arthur Davis unit. When the number of animation units at Warner Bros. was reduced from four to three in 1948, Melendez, moved to Robert McKimson's unit for a time.

After animating a few shorts under McKimson's belt, Meléndez was fired by producer Edward Selzer for his political beliefs.[4] Afterwards, he moved over to United Productions of America (UPA) where he animated on cartoons such as Gerald McBoing-Boing (1950). Melendez also produced and directed thousands of television commercials, first at UPA, then Playhouse Pictures and John Sutherland Productions.[5] In 1963, Melendez founded his own studio in the basement of his Hollywood home. Bill Melendez Productions is still active and is currently run by his son Steven C. Melendez.[6] In addition to animation, Melendez was once a faculty member at the University of Southern California's Cinema Arts Department.

Peanuts TV specials, movies and TV showsEdit

Meléndez was the only person Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz trusted to turn his popular comic creations into television specials. He and his studio worked on every single television special and direct-to-video film for the Peanuts gang and Meléndez directed the majority of them. He even provided the vocal effects for Snoopy and Woodstock in every single production, voice acting the characters in the studio by uttering gibberish, and the voices were mechanically sped up at different speeds to represent the two different characters.

According to an article in The New York Times published shortly after his death, Meléndez did not intend to do voice acting for the two characters. "Schulz would not countenance the idea of a beagle uttering English dialogue, Mr. Meléndez recited gibberish into a tape recorder, sped it up and put the result on the soundtrack."[2] He also directed, did the animation for, and provided voice acting in the first four Peanuts theatrical films, A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969), Snoopy, Come Home (1972), Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown (1977), and Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (1980), as well as the video games Get Ready for School, Charlie Brown! (1995) and Snoopy's Campfire Stories (1996).[7] The last Peanuts-related production he worked on was He's a Bully, Charlie Brown (2006).

Meléndez and Lee Mendelson, who also worked on the Peanuts specials, films, and TV shows, formed their own production team and did other animated specials. They were responsible for the first two Garfield animated specials, Here Comes Garfield (1982) and Garfield on the Town (1983), as well as Frosty Returns (1992), the pseudo-sequel to Rankin/Bass' Frosty the Snowman (1969).

National Student Film InstituteEdit

During the 1980s and 1990s Meléndez served on the advisory board of the National Student Film Institute.[8][9]

DeathEdit

On September 2, 2008, Bill Meléndez died at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California at the age of 91.[10] He had been in declining health after a fall a year earlier. No cause of death was made public.[2] Melendez was cremated and his ashes were given to his family.

Posthumous return to PeanutsEdit

Archive recordings of his work as Snoopy and Woodstock were used for the film The Peanuts Movie.[11] This makes him the only member of the film's cast to have been involved in a previous Peanuts project, save for Kristin Chenoweth, who won a Tony Award for her performance as Sally Brown in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown on Broadway.

Related companiesEdit

  • Melendez Films – Animation division : United Kingdom, video and interactive entertainment

FilmographyEdit

FilmsEdit

Year Film Animator Producer Director Actor Role Notes
1940 Pinocchio Yes No No No Assistant animator
Fantasia Yes No No No Assistant animator
1941 Dumbo Yes No No No Assistant animator
1942 Bambi Yes No No No Assistant animator
1943 The Flying Jalopy Yes No No No
A Corny Concerto Yes No No No Assistant animator
Falling Hare Yes No No No Assistant animator
An Itch in Time Yes No No No Assistant animator
1945 Draftee Daffy Yes No No No Assistant animator
Wagon Heels Yes No No No
The Bashful Buzzard Yes No No No
1946 Book Revue Yes No No No
Baby Bottleneck Yes No No No
Kitty Kornered Yes No No No
The Great Piggy Bank Robbery Yes No No No
The Big Snooze Yes No No No
1947 The Goofy Gophers Yes No No No
The Foxy Duckling Yes No No No
Doggone Cats Yes No No No
Mexican Joyride Yes No No No
Catch as Cats Can Yes No No No
1948 Two Gophers from Texas Yes No No No
What Makes Daffy Duck Yes No No No
A Hick a Slick and a Chick Yes No No No
Nothing But the Tooth Yes No No No
Bone Sweet Bone Yes No No No
The Rattled Rooster Yes No No No
Dough Ray Me-ow Yes No No No
The Pest That Came to Dinner Yes No No No
Odor of the Day Yes No No No
The Stupor Salesman Yes No No No
Riff Raffy Daffy Yes No No No
1949 Holiday for Drumsticks Yes No No No
Porky Chops Yes No No No
Bowery Bugs Yes No No No
Bye, Bye Bluebeard Yes No No No
A Ham in a Role Yes No No No
1950 Punchy de Leon Yes No No No
Boobs in the Woods Yes No No No
Spellbound Hound Yes No No No
The Leghorn Blows at Midnight Yes No No No
The Miner's Daughter Yes No No No
An Egg Scramble Yes No No No
What's Up Doc? Yes No No No
It's Hummer Time Yes No No No
Giddyap Yes No No No
Trouble Indemnity Yes No No No
A Fractured Leghorn Yes No No No
Pop 'im Pop! Yes No No No
Gerald McBoing-Boing Yes No No No
Bushy Hare Yes No No No
Dog Collared Yes No No No
Albert in Blunderland Yes No No No
1951 Hare We Go Yes No No No
Bungled Bungalow Yes No No No
A Fox in a Fix Yes No No No
Corn Plastered Yes No No No
Georgie and the Dragon Yes No No No
The Wonder Gloves Yes No No No
1952 The Oompahs Yes No No No
Willie the Kid Yes No No No
Madeline Yes No No No
1953 Little Boy with a Big Horn Yes No No No
Christopher Crumpet Yes No No No
Gerald McBoing-Boing's Symphony Yes No No No
1954 Ballet-Oop Yes No No No
It's Everybody's Business Yes No No No
1957 Energetically Yours Yes No Yes No
1963 It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Yes No No No
Gerald McBoing-Boing's Symphony Yes No No No
1969 A Boy Named Charlie Brown No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy
1970 The Rainbow Bear Yes No Yes No
1972 Snoopy, Come Home No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
1975 Dick Deadeye, or Duty Done No No Yes No
Escape to Witch Mountain Yes No No No
1977 Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
1978 Tooth Brushing No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy
1980 Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don't Come Back!!) No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
1992 Cool World Yes No No No
2015 The Peanuts Movie No No No Yes Snoopy, Woodstock archival recordings

TelevisionEdit

Year Film Animator Producer Director Actor Role Notes
1956 The Gerald McBoing-Boing Show Yes No No No 1 episode: The Election/The Fifty-First Dragon/Twirlinger Twins in the Ballet Lesson
1960 The Bugs Bunny Show Yes No No No classic cartoons
1963 A Boy Named Charlie Brown Yes No Yes Yes Snoopy
1965 A Charlie Brown Christmas No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy
1966 Charlie Brown's All Stars! No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy
1967 You're in Love, Charlie Brown No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy
1968 He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy
The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour Yes No No No classic cartoons
1969 Turn-On Yes No No No 1 episode
It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy
1971 Play It Again, Charlie Brown No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy
Babar Comes to America No Yes Yes No
1972 You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
1973 There's No Time for Love, Charlie Brown No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
1974 It's a Mystery, Charlie Brown No Yes No Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown No Yes No Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus No Yes Yes No
1975 Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown No Yes No Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown No Yes No Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
1976 It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown No Yes No Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
The Sylvester & Tweety Show Yes No No No classic cartoons
1977 It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown No Yes No Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
1978 What a Nightmare, Charlie Brown! No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy
1979 You're the Greatest, Charlie Brown No Yes No Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe No No Yes No Also credited for story adaptation
1980 She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown No Yes No Yes Snoopy
Life Is a Circus, Charlie Brown No Yes No Yes Snoopy
1981 It's Magic, Charlie Brown No Yes No Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
Someday You'll Find Her, Charlie Brown No Yes No Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
No Man's Valley No Yes Yes No
1982 A Charlie Brown Celebration No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
Here Comes Garfield No Yes No No
1983 Is This Goodbye, Charlie Brown? No Yes No Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
It's an Adventure, Charlie Brown No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown? No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
Garfield on the Town No Yes No No
1983–1985 The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
1984 It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
1985 Snoopy's Getting Married, Charlie Brown No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy, Woodstock, Spike
The Romance of Betty Boop No Yes Yes No
It's Your 20th Television Anniversary, Charlie Brown No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy
You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown No Yes No Yes Snoopy (non-speaking), Woodstock
1986 Happy New Year, Charlie Brown! No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
1987 Cathy No Yes No No
1988 Snoopy: The Musical No Yes No Yes Snoopy (non-speaking), Woodstock
It's the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown No Yes No Yes Spike
Cathy's Last Resort No Yes No No
1988–1989 This Is America, Charlie Brown No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy, Woodstock Also credited as writer for 4 episodes
1989 Cathy's Valentine No Yes No No
1990 You Don't Look 40, Charlie Brown No Yes Yes Yes Himself
Why, Charlie Brown, Why? No Yes No Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
Merrie Melodies: Starring Bugs Bunny and Friends Yes No No No classic cartoons
1991 Snoopy's Reunion No Yes No Yes Snoopy, Snoopy's Siblings
1992 It's Spring Training, Charlie Brown Yes Yes No Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
Frosty Returns No Yes Yes No
1994 You're in the Super Bowl, Charlie Brown No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
1995 That's Warner Bros.! Yes No No No classic cartoons
1997 It Was My Best Birthday Ever, Charlie Brown No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
2000 Here's to You, Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
It's the Pied Piper, Charlie Brown No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy
2002 A Charlie Brown Valentine No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy
Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales No Yes No Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
2003 Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy
I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy, Woodstock, Spike
2006 He's a Bully, Charlie Brown No Yes Yes Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
2008 Peanuts Motion Comics No No No Yes Snoopy archival recordings

Video gamesEdit

Year Film Animator Producer Director Actor Role Notes
1995 Get Ready for School, Charlie Brown! Yes Yes Yes Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
1996 Snoopy's Campfire Stories Yes No Yes Yes Snoopy, Woodstock
2015 The Peanuts Movie: Snoopy's Grand Adventure No No No Yes Snoopy, Woodstock archival recordings

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Peanuts' animator Melendez dies". BBC. September 4, 2008. Archived from the original on September 6, 2008. Retrieved September 4, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d Melendez NYT Obituary
  3. ^ "Bill Melendez, Comics Creator, Businessman and Peanuts Animator". thecartoonists.ca.
  4. ^ "Robert McKimson's "A Ham in a Role"". cartoonresearch.com.
  5. ^ Solomon, Charles (September 4, 2008). "Animator of 'Peanuts' TV specials and voice of Snoopy". The Los Angeles Times.
  6. ^ "Bill Melendez Prod. Inc". billmelendez.tv.
  7. ^ "Bill Melendez at Moby Games". Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  8. ^ Editor (June 10, 1994). National Student Film Institute/L.A: The Sixteenth Annual Los Angeles Student Film Festival. The Directors Guild Theatre. pp. 10–11.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  9. ^ Editor (June 7, 1991). Los Angeles Student Film Institute: 13th Annual Student Film Festival. The Directors Guild Theatre. p. 3.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  10. ^ "'Peanuts' animator Bill Melendez dies at 91". TODAY.com. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  11. ^ Russ Fischer. "New 'Peanuts' Movie First Look: Charlie Brown and Snoopy Head Back to the Big Screen". Slashfilm.

External linksEdit