This page is dedicated to Charles Schulz, without whom Peanuts would not be made possible. It was through his creative style that we met Charlie Brown and his unique friends. He is missed by many Peanuts fans who followed his work throughout the years. Below are bits of his history, with portions adapted from Wikipedia.org.
Charles Schulz loved to draw, even at a very young age. He would draw pictures of his family dog, Spike, who we all know in the Peanuts cartoon and comic strip as one of Snoopy's brothers. During his teenage years, he was very shy, and at one time, the high school yearbook staff rejected his drawings. He took some art correspondence courses for awhile, then, after his time in the military as a Staff Sergeant during World War II, he took a job teaching art. He gained some income by sending in a drawing to the Saturday Evening Post. They liked the first one so much they asked for more. After sending them 13 cartoons, he moved on. His first effort was a comic strip called Lil' Folks, in which he first used the name Charlie Brown. He tried to have it published with the Newspaper Enterprise Association as a regular feature, but it never came to pass. However, that same year, 1950, he approached United Features Syndicate with his Lil' Folks strip. They bought it, the name was changed. and Peanuts was born. Much of the strip was, and still is, based on events in his life. The Peanuts comic strip is one of the best-known and loved series of all time. And that's how it all began! Life just wouldn't have been the same without Peanuts! Charles Schulz may be gone, but never forgotten! His legacy continues through his children, his animated specials, and his comic strip still runs by way of reprints in papers worldwide.
Charles Schulz being "drawn" to life.
Above: The man and his work.
More photos of Schulz, one of him in his younger years. Below, is a scan I made from an old Disney Adventures magazine I happened to have.
Charles Monroe Schulz was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on November 26, 1922. His parents were German and Norwegian. As mentioned above, he loved to draw early in life. He was very shy as a child, perhaps feeling like he didn't fit in, since he skipped ahead in school. His mother passed away in 1943. He then went into the military, where he served for 3 years, fighting at the end of World War II. He was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge. He then took a teaching job, as previously mentioned, which inspired him to begin cartooning.
His first strip, Lil' Folks, started in 1947. It lasted for 3 years. Peanuts started with Charles Schulz' best strips from Lil' Folks. It became an immediate success, He was working on a second strip, but abandoned it due to demand for Peanuts. He named Charlie Brown after a former co-worker at the Art Instruction Schools, but the strip was inspired by his life.
Like Charlie Brown's parents, Schulz's father was a barber and his mother a housewife.
Schulz and Charlie Brown were shy and withdrawn.
Schulz had a dog when he was a boy, although unlike Snoopy the beagle, it was a pointer.
References to Snoopy's brother Spike living outside of Needles, California were likely influenced by the years (1928 – 1930) that the Schulz family lived there; they had moved to Needles to join family members who had relocated from Minnesota to tend to an ill cousin.
Schulz's "Little Red-Haired Girl" was Donna Johnson, an Art Instruction Schools accountant with whom he fell in love. Schulz was planning to propose to her, but before he got the chance, she agreed to marry another man.
Linus and Shermy were both named for good friends of his (Linus Maurer and Sherman Plepler).
Peppermint Patty was inspired by Patricia Swanson, a cousin on his mother's side.
He married Joyce Halverson in 1951 after moving to Colorado Springs, Colorado. He lived there briefly, and it was here that his son Monte was born. He moved back to Minnesota, where he stayed until 1958. He painted a room in the home there for his daughter, featuring Peanuts characters. That wall now resides in the Charles Schulz Museum. The rest of his children were born during this time period. He then moved to California where he built his first studio.
Schulz suffered two unfortunate events in 1966. His father passed away, and his California studio burned down. He moved to Santa Rosa, CA in 1969.
Charles and Joyce Schulz divorced in 1972. In 1973 he married Jean Forsyth Clyde.
He received several awards during his lifetime, including the National Cartoonist Society Humor Comic Strip Award, a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, the Silver Buffalo Award from the Boy Scouts of America. The Congressional Gold Medal (pictured below) was awarded to his wife, Jean Schulz, after his death by the United States Congress.
Schulz passed away in February of 2000 after battling cancer. The final strip ran the day after he died. In it, he expressed his wishes that no new strips be produced without him. This wish was expressed in his will as well. However, he did not ask that no new animation be made. He was honored in May of that year by 42 different strips paying homage to him and Peanuts. Peanuts had run for 50 years uninterrupted.
The Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center and The Jean and Charles Schulz Information Center are two examples of his legacy that he left behind. The former celebrates his life's work and art of cartooning, while the latter is one of the largest libraries in the CSU system, with with a 400,000 volume general collection and with a 750,000 volume automated retrieval system capacity. It is located at Sonoma State University in California.
Schulz' resting place.
One of the statues at the St. Paul's Landmark Center in Minnesota.