José Cuahtemoc Meléndez, better known as Bill Melendez, (November 15, 1916 - September 2, 2008) was a Mexican-born American character animator, film director and producer. He is well known for his cartoons based on Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts comic strips, for which he also provided the voices of Snoopy and Woodstock.
Melendez was born in the Mexican city of Hermosillo, Sonora. His family moved to the United States in 1928. He attended school in Douglas, Arizona and Los Angeles, California. He studied at the Chouinard Art Institute, which later became the California Institute of the Arts.
The animation career of Bill Melendez began in 1938 and would continue until 2006. Melendez started his career at Walt Disney Studios where he worked on Pinocchio, Fantasia and Mickey Mouse shorts. He worked on Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig cartoons at Warner Bros. and later moved to UPA where he animated the cartoon adaptation of Gerald McBoing Boing.
Bill Melendez first met Charles M. Schulz in 1959, when he was making television commercials for the Ford Motor Company which featured the Peanuts characters. Melendez became the only artist that Schulz would authorize to animate the characters.
In 1963 he founded Bill Melendez Productions, the studio initially being located in the basement of his home in Los Angeles. A British subsidiary, Melendez Films, known for its cartoons based on the comic strips Fred Basset and The Perishers, was founded in 1969. Both Melendez Films and Bill Melendez Productions are still active, Bill Melendez Productions now being run by Steven Melendez, Bill Melendez's son.
Bill Melendez died on September 2, 2008, at the age of 91. His health had been declining after he had a fall a year earlier.