"They say opposites attract... She's really something and I'm really nothing... How opposite can you get?
Charlie Brown, 1963
The Little Red-Haired Girl is an unseen character in the comic strip Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz. She is the object of Charlie Brown's affection, although he never dares to go near her. Whether or not she has any feelings towards Charlie Brown has never been revealed.
The only known Schulz drawing of The Little Red-Haired Girl was drawn sometime in 1950, long before she was referred to in the strip. Why Schulz did not introduce her into the strip when it started is unknown.
Charlie Brown first pined for the Little Red-Haired Girl on November 19, 1961, during lunch at school. He continued loving her until the end of the strip in 2000. In a series of strips from 1969, the Little Red-Haired Girl apparently moves away, causing Charlie Brown sheer grief. He sees her again during a ski trip a few months later , and Peppermint Patty and Marcie run into her at summer camp in 1972. Eventually she moves back to Charlie Brown's neighborhood and is never said to have moved away again. Even though she is often referred to in the comic strip she is never seen, except for one strip from 1998, in which she is seen in silhouette.
One reason Schulz never drew the Little Red-Haired girl in the strip, is to show Charlie Brown's hopeless longing for her. Schulz also admitted in 1997, "I could never draw her to satisfy the readers' impression of what she's probably like."
The character was based on Donna Johnson, a red-haired woman who Charles M. Schulz proposed to but who turned him down. This is where Schulz got the idea for Charlie Brown's unrequited love years later.
Depiction in animation
The Little Red-Haired Girl has been shown on television in It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown, Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!, A Charlie Brown Valentine, the second season opening of The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show, and makes a brief appearence in Snoopy!!! The Musical, during the song "Poor Sweet Baby".
In It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown, and in Happy New Year, Charlie Brown, it is said that her name is Heather and that name has also been used in subsequent television specials. However, that name has never been used in the Peanuts comic strip.