91 (passed away Sep. 2nd, 2008)
Nov. 15th, 1916
Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Date of Death
2 September 2008, Santa Monica, California, USA (natural causes)
José Cuauhtémoc Melendez
Helen Huhn (1940 - 2 September 2008) (his death) 2 children
José Cuauhtémoc "Bill" Meléndez (November 15, 1916 – September 2, 2008) was a Mexican-American character animator, film director, voice artist and producer, known for his cartoons for Warner Brothers, UPA and the Peanuts series. Melendez provided the voices of Snoopy and Woodstock in the latter as well.
A native of the Mexican city of Hermosillo, Sonora, Melendez was educated in U.S. public schools in Douglas, Arizona. At 12 years old, he was put into a kindergarten class because of his lack of skills in math, reading, and English. Later in Los Angeles at the Chouinard Art Institute (which would later become California Institute of the Arts).
UPA and commercial animation work
When the number of animation units at Warner Bros. was reduced from four to three in 1948, Melendez, after being moved to Robert McKimson's unit for a time, moved over to United Productions of America (UPA) where he animated on cartoons such as Gerald McBoing-Boing. Melendez also produced and directed thousands of television commercials, first at UPA, then Playhouse Pictures and John Sutherland Productions. 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 Melendez. In addition to animation, Melendez was once a faculty member at the University of Southern California's Cinema Arts Department.
He is parodied in the online cartoon Homestar Runner.
Mr. Melendez passed away from natural causes on Sept. 2, 2008, two and a half months before his 92nd birthday, in Santa Monica. He was survived by his wife of 68 years, Helen, his two sons Steven Melendez and Rodrigo Melendez (a retired US Navy Rear Admiral), his six grandchildren and his 11 great-grandchildren.
In addition to producing Peanuts specials, Bill Melendez, as well as Lee Mendelson, has also produced specials for the comic strip Garfield.
Here Comes Garfield (producer)
Garfield on the Town (producer)
Melendez Films – Animation division : United Kingdom, video and interactive entertainment
- A professional animator for almost seven decades, his career began in 1938 when he was hired by Walt Disney Studios. He worked on classic feature films such as "Fantasia" and "Pinocchio", as well as Mickey Mouse cartoons.
- With Lee Mendelson, Melendez produced, directed, or animated about 70 "Peanuts" TV specials, four movies, and hundreds of commercials. He was also the "voice" of Snoopy.
- After working at Disney, he joined Warner Brothers in the 1940s, where he worked on Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig cartoons.
- He met "Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz in 1959 when he was making Ford Motor TV commercials featuring the Peanuts characters. Melendez became the only artist Schulz authorized to animate the characters.
- His family moved from Mexico to Arizona in 1928, and then to Los Angeles, where Melendez attended the Chouinard Art Institute.
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