Remembering 'Peanuts' Animator Bill Melendez...
"What a sweet, sweet guy!"
That is how comics editor Amy Lago remembers BILL MELENDEZ, the sublimely talented animator who collaborated with Charles Schulz on 70 or so "Peanuts" productions. Melendez, who died yesterday at 91, made the warmest of impressions.
"He was an old-timey gentleman," recalls Lago, who worked with Melendez when she was Schulz's editor at United Media. "He took us to lunch near his studio in Southern California, back in the day when you could still drink at lunch. It was the most pleasant day I've ever spent with anyone on a business trip."
Lago, who now works for Washington Post Writers Group, also describes an occasion when she and "Sparky" Schulz met up with Melendez in Arizona: "It was one of the few times I actually saw someone get real World War II stories out of Sparky. What a wonderful guy."
Of Schulz and Melendez's long professional partnership -- which resulted in classic TV specials beginning in the 1960s, Lago says: "They had immense respect for each other. Bill said it was hard to animate Sparky's work because the lines were so clean and simple."
| September 4, 2008; 1:00 PM ET
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