LPM Staff

Latino animator made us laugh

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He was the voice of Snoopy, personifying the cartoon dog’s expressive howls, sobs, whines and sighs.

He also brought to life our favorite Peanuts characters in TV specials and movies.

Animator Bill Melendez was 91 when he died in early September.

Melendez was born in 1916 in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. He moved to Arizona with his family in 1928, and then to Los Angeles in the 1930s, attending the Chouinard Art Institute.

His career in animation started in 1938, when he was hired by Walt Disney Studios, where he worked on Mickey Mouse cartoons.

Some of us sat in darkened movie houses watching Melendez’s work on classic animated films such as Fantasia and Pinocchio, not knowing there was a Latino touch to our beloved Disney characters.

Melendez later moved to Warner Bros., where he worked on Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig and Daffy Duck cartoons.

Melendez met Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz in 1959 while creating Ford Motor Co. TV commercials featuring his characters.

The two became friends and Melendez became the only person Schulz authorized to animate his characters.

In our minds, Melendez will live every time we switch on the TV and settle in to watch re-runs of those gently hilarious Peanuts shows.

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