About Charles Schulz

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Born in Minneapolis, Minn., on Nov. 26, 1922, Charles M. Schulz was the only child of Dena and Carl Schulz. From birth, comics played an important role in Schulz's life. At just two days old, an uncle nicknamed him 'Sparky' after the horse Spark Plug from the Barney Google comic strip, and throughout his youth he and his father shared a Sunday morning ritual reading the funnies. Schulz always knew he wanted to be a cartoonist and was very proud when Ripley's newspaper feature, Believe It or Not, published his drawing of the family dog in 1937. The Schulz family moved to Needles, Calif., in the summer of 1929, when Sparky was 6 years old; they only stayed there for about a year before returning to Minnesota.



Schulz put his artistic ambitions on hold during World War II while serving as a machine-gun squad leader, though he regularly sketched episodes of daily army life in his sketchbook. Following his discharge in 1945, Schulz returned to St. Paul, Minn., to pursue a cartooning career. Between 1947 and 1950, he drew a weekly comic panel for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and also sold 17 comic gags to The Saturday Evening Post. After many rejection slips, Schulz finally realized his dream of creating a nationally syndicated daily comic strip when Peanuts debuted in seven newspapers on Oct. 2, 1950. By 1965, Schulz was twice honored with the Reuben Award by the National Cartoonists Society for his talents, and Peanuts was an international success.



Schulz once described his thoughts on the art of cartooning as this: "Drawing cartoons is a great way to share your ideas. A cartoonist is no different from any other type of artist - he or she wants to express him/herself. There is a joy in playing the piano or painting a wonderful watercolor. There is also a joy in communicating a thought, whether serious or funny, to another person." (1996)



When Schulz announced his retirement for health reasons in December 1999, Peanuts was in more than 2,600 newspapers worldwide; he died shortly thereafter, on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2000, just hours before the final Peanuts Sunday strip appeared in newspapers.