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Charles Schulz (American, 1922-2000)
Also known as: Schulz, Charles MonroeBirth Place: Minneapolis (Hennepin county, Minnesota, United States)
Charles Schulz, best-known as the writer and artist of the comic strip Peanuts, is considered by many to be one of the most successful and influential American cartoonists of all time. Schulz, nicknamed “Sparky” after an animated horse, drew upon his own childhood awkwardness to inspire the strip’s characters, namely the gang’s most likeable loser Charlie Brown and his silent sidekick, Snoopy.
Schulz was the quintessential misfit growing up— an uncoordinated comic enthusiast with a bad complexion and a fear of the opposite sex, not to mention the youngest student in his class after skipping two half-grades. Drawing was his outlet from the uncertainties of being a teenager, so one of his most painful memories of adolescence was the rejection of his cartoons in the high school yearbook. Nevertheless, it would be he who had the last laugh, as a five-foot tall statue of Snoopy was mounted atop of the school’s main office 60 years later.
While still in school, Schulz enrolled himself in correspondence courses in cartooning at the Art Instruction School. He was later drafted into the U.S. Army for two years during World War II, returning home in 1945. He was then employed by AIS for the next five years, submitting cartoons to various magazines across the country and receiving many rejection letters in return, until he successfully sold a cartoon to The Saturday Evening Post in 1948. He picked up several small-time drawing gigs over the next two years, but finally decided to sell Peanuts to United Features in 1950, which turned out to be the smartest career move he ever made.
Peanuts quickly became the most widely read comic strip in the country, published daily in over 2,000 newspapers. His cartoon gang went on to inspire other animated series, toys, books, and was picked up by multiple advertisers in the years that followed. Schulz spent the rest of his life coming up with new adventures for the Peanuts in his private studio, becoming one of the wealthiest, most commemorated cartoonists of his time.
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