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Lee Mendelson
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Producer
    (March 24, 1933-December 25, 2019)
    Born in San Francisco, California
    Birth name was Leland Maurice Mendelson
    Best known as executive producer of fifty animated 'Peanuts' specials, starting with 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' in 1965
    Also produced programs based on 'Garfield,' 'Cathy,' and 'Mother Goose and Grimm'
    He made a deal with Coca-Cola to sponsor a Peanuts holiday special without consulting Charles Schulz. ('I called Mr. Schulz and said, 'I think I just sold 'A Charlie Brown Christmas,'' and he said, 'What's that?' And I said, 'Something you're gonna write tomorrow.'')
    He tried to talk Schulz out of having Linus quote the Gospel of Luke in 'A Charlie Brown Christmas.' ('I said, 'We can't have that -- this is religion, it just doesn't go in a cartoon.'')
    He also tried to persuade Schulz to use a laugh track.
    He gave each of his four kids voice parts in Peanuts specials.
    Some of the Peanuts specials he produced have been holiday staples for over fifty years.
    When he was unable to find a lyricist, he wrote the words for 'Christmas Time Is Here' on the back of an envelope in fifteen minutes.
    He won twelve Emmys and four Peabody Awards.
    He said about his relationship with Schulz, 'This was a friendship first, and a creative team second.'

Credit: C. Fishel


 
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