Birth Date: November 15, 1916 / Age: 97
Birth Place: Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico
Also Credited as: J.C. Melendez
Biography: Bill Melendez (born José Cuauhtemoc Melendez) on November 15, 1916 in Hermosillo, Mexico) is a Mexican-born American character animator, film director, and film producer, known for his cartoons for Warner Brothers and the Charlie Brown series. Melendez provided the voice of Snoopy the dog in the latter as well.
Melendez, a native of the Mexican town of Hermosillo, was educated in Douglas, Arizona and Los Angeles – the latter being the location of California Institute of the Arts (then known as the Chouinard Arts Institute).
In 1938, Melendez was hired by Walt Disney to work on animated short films and feature-length films such as Bambi, Fantasia, and Dumbo. Three years later, he joined Leon Schlesinger's team at the Warner Brothers studios, where, as a member of the Bob Clampett and Art Davis units, he animated on a number of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck shorts. UPA put him on their payroll in 1948 to work on many television commercials, as well as the Gerald McBoing-Boing and Madeleine shorts.
After a decade at two smaller production houses, Melendez founded his own production company in 1964. Bill Melendez Productions helped produce the annually broadcast Christmas special A Charlie Brown Christmas, for which he won an Emmy Award and the George Foster Peabody Award despite having to work on short notice and with a tight budget. A hallmark is the same Melendez who gives Snoopy his peculiar nose also performs his voice.
Melendez has gone one to do over 75 half-hour Peanuts specials, including the 1989 miniseries This is America, Charlie Brown, as well as four feature-length motion pictures – all with partner Lee Mendelson.
Amongst the other comic strip characters he has animated are Cathy and Garfield.
In addition to animation, Melendez was once a faculty member at the University of Southern California's Cinema Arts Department. He currently resides in Los Angeles.