Bill Melendez, best known for the beloved "Peanuts" TV specials, based on Charles M. Schulz's comic strip, spent 68 of his 91 years working in the field of animation. Born in Hermosillo, Mexico, Melendez was educated in the United States and began his film career as an assistant animator on the early 1940s Disney classics "Pinocchio," "Fantasia," "Dumbo," and "Bambi." But he spent the bulk of that decade with Warner Brothers, animating their cartoon mainstays Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety and Sylvester, and Porky Pig. Eventually Melendez found himself directing and animating commercials, at which he was wildly successful; he created thousands of advertising spots and won dozens of awards during the 1950s and 1960s. It was one of these commercials, a 1964 Ford spot using the "Peanuts" gang, that first brought Melendez into contact with Schulz and created a partnership that would flourish for the rest of their lives. The next year, the first "Peanuts" television special, "A Charlie Brown Christmas," aired on CBS and became an instant holiday staple; Melendez's production company oversaw more than thirty subsequent "Peanuts" television specials, with Melendez himself providing the voices of Snoopy and Woodstock. He was also responsible for launching the animated TV versions of comic-strip denizens Garfield and Cathy, as well as bringing Babar the Elephant to American television audiences. All four of these series garnered numerous Emmy nominations and wins, as did Melendez's non-Charlie Brown Christmas classic "Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus" in 1974.