Home Page

Charles SCHULZ

 

 Charles Monroe Schulz nacque a Minneapolis il 26 novembre del 1922 da padre tedesco e da madre norvegese ed Ŕ stato un fumettista statunitense, conosciuto in tutto il mondo per le sue strisce dei Peanuts.

 Sparky (come lo soprannomin˛ lo zio nei primi anni di vita), soleva trarre ispirazione per le sue strisce da molti episodi della sua infanzia.

 Dopo aver frequentato la Richards Gordon di St. Paul, alla Scuola Superiore gli rifiutarono dei disegni che avevo proposto per l'annuario della scuola, sessanta anni dopo nell'atrio della stessa scuola giganteggia una statua di Snoopy alta 180 cm!

 Prese parte alla seconda guerra mondiale e dopo aver lasciato l'esercito nel 1945 lavor˛ come insegnante e fu anche predicatore laico in una Chiesa protestante.

 La sua prima striscia a cadenza regolare fu pubblicata dal St. Paul Pioneer Press e in queste vignette, alcune pubblicate anche dal Saturday Evening Post, comparve per la prima volta Charlie Brown.

 Con l'andare degli anni il bimbo dalla testa tonda e gli altri suoi personaggi divennero i fumetti pi¨ popolari di ogni tempo.

Schulz si spos˛ due volte, la prima con Joyce Halverson che gli diede 5 figli e la seconda con Jean Forsyth Clyde, che gli sopravvisse.

I suoi Peanuts sono stati pubblicati per quasi 50 anni e sono apparsi su 1600 quotidiani di 75 Paesi!!

Per tutta la sua vita Charles fu un appassionato giocatore di bridge ed il gioco ha fatto spesso da comparsa nelle sue vignette.

Negli ultimi anni fu tormentati da gravi malattie e morý a Santa Rosa in California il 12 febbraio del 2000 a causa di complicazione derivanti da un cancro al colon.

  Charles Monroe Schulz (November 26, 1922 ľ February 12, 2000), nicknamed Sparky, was an American cartoonist, best known for the comic strip Peanuts (which featured the characters Snoopy and Charlie Brown, among others). He is widely regarded as one of the most influential cartoonists of all time, cited as a major influence by many later cartoonists.

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Schulz grew up in Saint Paul. He was the only child of Carl Schulz, who was born in Germany, and Dena Halverson, who had Norwegian heritage. His uncle called him "Sparky" after the horse Spark Plug in Billy DeBeck's comic strip, Barney Google.

Schulz loved drawing and sometimes drew his family dog, Spike, who ate unusual things, such as pins and tacks. In 1937, Schulz drew a picture of Spike and sent it to Ripley's Believe It or Not!; his drawing appeared in Robert Ripley's syndicated panel, captioned, "A hunting dog that eats pins, tacks, and razor blades is owned by C. F. Schulz, St. Paul, Minn." and "Drawn by 'Sparky'"(C.F. was his father, Carl Fred Schulz).

Schulz attended Richards Gordon Elementary School in Saint Paul, where he skipped two half-grades. He became a shy, timid teenager, perhaps as a result of being the youngest in his class at Central High School. One well-known episode in his high school life was the rejection of his drawings by his high school yearbook. A five-foot-tall statue of Snoopy was placed in the school's main office 60 years later.

In February 1943, Schulz's mother Dena died after a long illness. At the time of her death, he had only recently been made aware that she suffered from cancer. Schulz had by all accounts been very close to his mother and her death made a strong impression on him. Around the same time, Schulz was drafted into the United States Army. He served as a staff sergeant with the 20th Armored Division in Europe, as a squad leader on a .50 caliber machine gun team. His unit saw combat only at the very end of the war. Schulz said that he only had one opportunity to fire his machine gun but forgot to load it. Fortunately, he said, the German soldier he could have fired at willingly surrendered. Years later, Schulz proudly spoke of his wartime service.

After being discharged in late 1945, Schulz returned to Minneapolis. He did lettering for a Roman Catholic comic magazine, Timeless Topix, and then, in July 1946, took a job at Art Instruction, Inc., reviewing and grading lessons submitted by students. Schulz himself had been a student of the school, taking a correspondence course from it before he was drafted. He worked at the school for a number of years while he developed his career as a comic creator, until he was making enough money from comics to be able to do that full-time.

Schulz's first group of regular cartoons, a weekly series of one-panel jokes entitled Li'l Folks, was 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 as well as 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 out of 17 one-panel cartoons by Schulz that would be published there. In 1948, he 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 from the Pioneer Press in January 1950.

Later that year, Schulz approached the United Feature Syndicate with the one-panel series Li'l Folks, and the syndicate became interested. However, by that time Schulz had also developed a comic strip, using normally four panels rather than one, and reportedly to Schulz's delight, the syndicate preferred this version. Peanuts made its first appearance on October 2, 1950, in seven newspapers. The weekly Sunday-page debuted on January 6, 1952. After a somewhat slow beginning, Peanuts eventually became one of the most popular comic strips of all time, as well as one of the most influential. Schulz also had a short-lived sports-oriented comic strip called It's Only a Game (1957ľ1959), but he abandoned it due to the demands of the successful Peanuts. From 1956 to 1965 he contributed a single-panel strip ("Young Pillars") featuring teenagers to Youth, a publication associated with the Church of God.

At its height, Peanuts was published daily in 2,600 papers in 75 countries, in 21 languages. Over the nearly 50 years that Peanuts was published, Schulz drew nearly 18,000 strips. The strips themselves, plus merchandise and product endorsements, produced revenues of more than $1 billion per year, with Schulz earning an estimated $30 million to $40 million annually. During the life of the strip, Schulz took only one vacation, a five-week break in late 1997 to celebrate his 75th birthday; reruns of the strip ran during his vacation, the only time reruns occurred while Schulz was alive.

In 1951, Schulz moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado. In April the same year, Schulz married Joyce Halverson (no relation to Schulz's mother Dena Halverson Schulz).
His son, Monte, was born in February the following year, with their three further children being born later, in Minnesota. He painted a wall in that home for his adopted daughter Meredith Hodges, featuring Patty with a balloon, Charlie Brown jumping over a candlestick, and Snoopy playing on all fours. The wall was removed in 2001 and donated to the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, California.

Schulz and his family returned to Minneapolis and stayed until 1958. They then moved to Sebastopol, California, where Schulz built his first studio (until then, he'd worked at home or in a small rented office room). 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, Charlie Brown and Charles Schulz. 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 until his death.

By Thanksgiving 1970, it was clear that Schulz's first marriage was in trouble. He was having an affair with a 25-year-old woman named Tracey Claudius. The Schulzes divorced in 1972, and in September of the following year he married Jean Forsyth Clyde, whom he had first met when she brought her daughter to his hockey rink. They remained married for 27 years, until Schulz's death in 2000.

Charles M. Schulz Highland Arena on Snelling Avenue and Ford Parkway in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Schulz had a long association with ice sports, and 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 and featured a snack bar called "The Warm Puppy". Schulz's daughter Amy served as a model for the figure 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. Schulz also enjoyed playing golf and was a member of the Santa Rosa Golf and Country Club from 1959 to 2000.

In July 1981, Schulz underwent heart bypass surgery. During his hospital stay, President Ronald Reagan called him on the phone to wish him a quick recovery.

On Sunday, May 8, 1988, two gunmen wearing ski masks entered the cartoonist's home through an unlocked door, planning to kidnap Jean Schulz, but the attempt failed when Schulz's daughter, Jill, drove up to the house, prompting the would-be kidnappers to flee. She saw what was happening and called the police from a neighbor's house. Sonoma County Sheriff Dick Michaelsen said, "It was obviously an attempted kidnap-ransom. This was a targeted criminal act. They knew exactly who the victims were." Neither Schulz nor his wife was hurt during the incident.

In 1998, Schulz hosted the first Over 75 Hockey Tournament. In 2000, the Ramsey County Board voted to rename the Highland Park Ice Arena the Charles M. Schulz-Highland Arena in his honor.

In addition to his lifelong interest in comics, Schulz was also interested in art in general; his favorite artist in later years was Andrew Wyeth. As a young adult Schulz also developed a great passion for classical music. Although the character Schroeder in Peanuts adored Beethoven, Schulz said in an interview with Gary Groth in 1997 (published in The Comics Journal #200) that his own favorite classical composer was actually Brahms.

In the 1980s Schulz complained that "sometimes my hand shakes so much I have to hold my wrist to draw." This led to the erroneous assumption that Schulz had Parkinson's disease. However, according to a letter from his physician, placed in the Archives of the Charles M. Schulz Museum by his widow, Schulz had essential tremor, a condition alleviated by beta blockers. Despite this, Schulz insisted on writing and drawing the strip by himself. However, his decision in 1988 to abandon the strict four-panel format in his daily strips, which he had used since Peanuts began, is reported to partly have been an attempt to gain more flexibility, as he then could do some one-panel strips, which took less time to draw than four panels.

In November 1999 Schulz suffered several small strokes along with a blocked aorta, and later it was discovered that he had colon cancer that had metastasized. Because of the chemotherapy and the fact that he could not see clearly, he announced his retirement on December 14, 1999.

Schulz died in his sleep at home on February 12, 2000 at around 9:45 pm, from complications arising from his colon cancer.

Indice / Index

Precedente / Previous

Successivo / Next