CHARLES SCHULZ Biography - Other artists & entretainers


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Name: Charles Monroe Schulz                                                               
Born: November 26, 1922 Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA                                       
Died: February 12, 2000 Santa Rosa, California, USA                                       
Charles Monroe Schulz (November 26, 1922 - February 12, 2000) was a 20th-century         
American cartoonist best known worldwide for his Peanuts comic strip.                     
Charles M. Schulz was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and grew up in Saint Paul.         
He was the only child of Carl Schulz, who was German, and Dena, who was                   
Norwegian.[2] His uncle nicknamed him "Sparky" after the horse Spark Plug in the         
Barney Google comic strip.                                                               
Schulz attended St. Paul's Richard Gordon Elementary School, where he skipped             
two half-grades. He became a shy and isolated teenager, perhaps as a result of           
being the youngest in his class at Central High School.                                   
After his mother died in February 1943, he was drafted into the United States             
Army and was sent to Camp Campbell in Kentucky. He was shipped to Europe two             
years later to fight in World War II with the U.S. 20th Armored Division. Schulz         
attained the rank of staff sergeant and was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge.         
After leaving the army in 1945, he returned to Minneapolis where he took a job           
as an art teacher at Art Instruction, Inc. — he had taken correspondence courses       
before he was drafted. Schulz, before having his comics published, began doing           
lettering work for a Catholic comic magazine titled Timeless Topix, where he             
would rush back and forth from dropping off his lettering work and teaching at           
Art Instruction Schools, Inc.                                                             
Schulz's drawings were first published by Robert Ripley in his Ripley's Believe           
It or Not!. His first regular cartoons, Li'l Folks, were published from 1947 to           
1950 by the St. Paul Pioneer Press; he first used the name Charlie Brown for a           
character there, although he applied the name in four gags to three different             
boys and one buried in sand. The series also had a dog that looked much like             
Snoopy. In 1948, Schulz sold a cartoon to the Saturday Evening Post; the first           
of seventeen single-panel cartoons by Schulz that would be published there. In           
1948, Schulz tried to have Li'l Folks syndicated through the Newspaper                   
Enterprise Association. Schulz would have been an independent contractor for the         
syndicate, unheard of in the 1940s, but the deal fell through. Li'l Folks was             
dropped in January, 1950.                                                                 
Later that year, Schulz approached the United Feature Syndicate with his best             
strips from Li'l Folks, and Peanuts made its first appearance on October 2, 1950.         
The strip became one of the most popular comic strips of all time. He also had a         
short-lived sports-oriented comic strip called It's Only a Game (1957 – 1959),         
but abandoned it due to the demands of the successful Peanuts. From 1956 to 1965         
he also contributed a single-panel strip ("Young Pillars") featuring teenagers           
to Youth, a publication associated with the Church of God (Anderson).                     
Charlie Brown, the principal character for Peanuts, was named after a co-worker           
at the Art Instruction Schools; he drew much of his inspiration, however, from           
his own life:                                                                             
Like Charlie Brown, Schulz's father was a barber and his mother a housewife.             
Schulz had a dog when he was a boy. Unlike Snoopy the beagle, it was a pointer.           
Eventually, it was revealed that Snoopy had a desert-dwelling brother named               
Spike's residence, outside of Needles, California, was likely influenced by the           
few years (1928 - 1930) that the Schulz family lived there; they had moved to             
Needles to join other 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 had a relationship. She rejected his marriage proposal,           
but remained a friend for the rest of his life.                                           
Linus and Shermy were both named for good friends of his (Linus Maurer and               
Sherman Plepler, respectively).                                                           
Lucy was inspired by Joyce Halverson, his first wife.                                     
Peppermint Patty was inspired by Patricia Swanson, one of his cousins on his             
mother's side.                                                                           
Schulz moved briefly to Colorado Springs, Colorado. He painted a wall in that             
home for his daughter Meredith, featuring Patty, Charlie Brown and Snoopy. The           
wall was removed in 2001 and donated to the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa             
Rosa, California. The restored artwork by Schulz is printed in the paperback             
edition of Chip Kidd's book Peanuts: The Art of Charles M. Schulz.                       
Schulz's family returned to Minneapolis and stayed until 1958. They then moved           
to Sebastopol, California, where Schulz built his first studio. It was here that         
Schulz was interviewed for the unaired television documentary A Boy Named                 
Charlie Brown. Some of the footage was eventually used in a later documentary             
titled Charlie Brown and Charles Schulz. The original documentary is available           
on DVD from The Charles M. Schulz Museum.                                                 
Schulz's father died while visiting him in 1966, the same year his Sebastopol             
studio burned down. By 1969, Schulz had moved to Santa Rosa, California, where           
he lived and worked for more than 30 years.                                               
Schulz had a long association with ice sports, as both figure skating and ice             
hockey featured prominently in his cartoons. In Santa Rosa, he was the owner of           
the Redwood Empire Ice Arena, which opened in 1969. Schulz's daughter Amy served         
as a model for the skating in the 1980 television special She's a Good Skate,             
Charlie Brown. Schulz also was very active in Senior Ice Hockey tournaments; in           
1975, he formed Snoopy's Senior World Hockey Tournament at his Redwood Empire             
Ice Arena, and in 1981, Schulz was awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy for                 
outstanding service to the sport of hockey in the United States. In 1998, he             
hosted the 1st ever Over 75 Hockey Tournament (although goalies could be younger         
- 60). In 2001, Saint Paul renamed The Highland Park Ice Arena the "Charles               
Schulz Arena" in his honor.                                                               
The first full-scale biography of Schulz, Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography, by             
David Michaelis, was released in October 2007. The book has been heavily                 
criticized by the Schulz family, while Michaelis maintains that there is "no             
question" his work is accurate. However, fellow artist Bill Watterson (creator           
of Calvin & Hobbes) feels that the biography does justice to Schulz's legacy,             
while giving insight into the emotional impetus of the creation of the strips.[6]         
In light of David Michaelis' biography and the controversy surrounding his               
interpretation of the personality that was Charles Schulz, responses from his             
family reveal some intimate knowledge about the Schulz's persona beyond that of           
mere artist.                                                                             
Peanuts ran for nearly 50 years without interruption and appeared in more than 2,600     
newspapers in 75 countries. In November 1999 Schulz suffered a stroke, and later         
it was discovered that he had colon cancer that had metastasized to his stomach.         
Because of the chemotherapy and the fact he could not read or see clearly, he             
announced his retirement on December 14, 1999. This was difficult for Schulz,             
and he was quoted as saying to Al Roker on The Today Show, "I never dreamed that         
this would happen to me. I always had the feeling that I would stay with the             
strip until I was in my early eighties, or something like that. But all of               
sudden it's gone. I did not take it away. This has been taken away from me."             
Schulz died in Santa Rosa of complications from colon cancer at 9:45 p.m. on             
February 12, 2000, at age 77. He was interred in Pleasant Hills Cemetery in               
The last original strip ran the day after his death. In it, a statement was               
included from Schulz that his family wished for the strip to end when he was no           
longer able to produce it. Schulz had previously predicted that the strip would           
outlive him, with his reason being that comic strips are usually drawn weeks             
before their publication. As part of his will, Schulz had requested that the             
Peanuts characters remain as authentic as possible and that no new comic strips           
based on them be drawn. United Features has legal ownership of the strip, but             
his wishes have been honored, although reruns of the strip are still being               
syndicated to newspapers. New television specials have also been produced since           
Schulz's death, but the stories are based on previous strips.                             
Schulz had been asked if, for his final Peanuts strip, Charlie Brown would               
finally get to kick that football after so many decades. His response: "Oh, no!           
Definitely not! I couldn't have Charlie Brown kick that football; that would be           
a terrible disservice to him after nearly half a century."                               
He was honored on May 27, 2000, by cartoonists of 42 comic strips paying homage           
to him and Peanuts.