Charles M. Schulz is widely regarded as one of the most influential cartoonists of all time. For fifty years, Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the Peanuts gang entertained readers on the newspaper comic pages. By creating a depth and familiarity to his characters, Schulz was able to keep attracting new readers while maintaining a devout community that just couldn’t get enough.
In December 1999, the Peanuts comic strip was syndicated in over 2,600 newspapers worldwide, when Schulz announced his retirement. With a readership of around 355 million in 75 countries, and translations in over 25 languages, he has been awarded with the highest honors from his fellow cartoonists, received Emmy Awards for his animated specials, been recognized and lauded by the U.S. and foreign governments, had Apollo 10’s spacecraft named after his characters, and inspired a concert performance at Carnegie Hall.
On the morning of Sunday, February 13, 2000, newspaper readers opened their comic pages as they always had, and yet, knowing this Sunday was different. The comic strip featured was to be the final original Peanuts, while just a few hours before, Charles M. Schulz who once described his life as being “one of rejection,” passed away peacefully in his sleep. It was a poetic ending to the life of a devoted cartoonist who, from his earliest memories, knew that all he wanted to do was “draw funny pictures”.