Long time television and film producer Lee Mendelson passed away on Christmas Day at the age of 86. Known mostly for his work associated with the animated Charlie Brown television specials. Lee Mendelson passed away at his San Francisco home of congestive heart failure due to a long-time fight with cancer, his son, Jason Mendelson, confirmed to CNN.
Born and raised in San Francisco, California in 1933. Mendelson graduated from San Mateo High School in 1951 and went on to attended Stanford University where he would graduate with a degree in English. He briefly joined the United States Air Force, but then decided to join in working in his father’s business unknowing of what to do. Originally, Mendelson knew he wanted to work within the television industry so he joined a local Bay Area television station KPIX-TV where he decided he wanted to be a television producer.
Lee Mendelson worked closely with cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, animator Bill Melendez, and jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi (a 40 year-long collaboration between them according to The Hollywood Reporter) to produce of several original classics including the 1965, A Charlie Brown Christmas special. Mendelson’s filmography also consists of the 1973 television special A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show (1983- ‘85), and Garfield and Friends (1991- ‘94) also producing several documentaries. Mendelson’s work also extends working as a composer for several of his animated works with Soundtrack credits to him on his IMDB page. Overall throughout his lifetime he helped producer over fifty television specials and four animated films according to a tweet from the Charles M. Schulz Museum that honored the late producer. (Tweet Here)
Mendelson was also a 29 Emmy nominated producer, winning six of the twenty-nine nominations. Also being Grammy winning and nominated one of which was for the famous lyric in A Charlie Brown Christmas: “Christmas time is here”