If dogs are man’s best friend, there’s no better confidant than Snoopy. Loyal and true, he’ll stick by Charlie Brown’s side through thick and thin—unless it’s dinnertime, of course.
From his earliest memories, Charles M. Schulz knew that all he wanted to do was “draw funny pictures.” Schulz was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1922, and his love for cartoons was fostered by his father in a shared appreciation for the Sunday funnies. As a senior in high school, at the prompting of his mother, he completed a correspondence cartoon course with the Federal School of Applied Cartooning. Schulz continued his studies in art as the genre of the cartoon began to change—adopting simplistic, minimalistic styles that, conveniently, allowed Schulz to showcase his dry, self-effacing humor.
In 1943 Schulz enlisted in the army to help the American efforts in World War II, ultimately returning home in the fall of 1945. In a push to make his dream of being a cartoonist a reality, he taught at his alma mater and sold cartoon strips to papers intermittently. Finally, in October 1950, the first Peanuts strip premiered in seven national newspapers. His seemingly simple creation—illustrations of large-headed kids using vocabulary and facing situations far beyond their years—became a well-known, well-loved comic strip and grew to have an enormous global impact.
Schulz himself has won awards from his cartoonist peers, has been recognized and lauded by U.S. and foreign governments, and has received Emmys for his animated specials. In 2015 the beloved holiday TV special—A Charlie Brown Christmas—will reach its fifty-year milestone. Though the last original Peanuts comic appeared in papers on February 13, 2000, the day after Schulz passed away in his sleep, his work continues to be read in more than two thousand newspapers around the world.