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Lee Mendelson, Producer Within the support of ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas,’ Dies at 86


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Lee Mendelson, Producer Within the support of ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas,’ Dies at 86

Mr. Mendelson, who shepherded dozens of prime-time specials and “Peanuts” films with Charles M. Schulz, also wrote the iconic lyrics to the song “Christmas Time Is Here.”Lee Mendelson, who produced “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” in 2015. He died on Christmas morning.Credit…Jason Mendelson, via Associated PressDec. 28, 2019, 6:09 p.m. ETLee Mendelson, an Emmy Award-winning producer…

Lee Mendelson, Producer Within the support of ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas,’ Dies at 86

Mr. Mendelson, who shepherded dozens of prime-time specials and “Peanuts” movies with Charles M. Schulz, also wrote the iconic lyrics to the song “Christmas Time Is Right here.”

Credit score…Jason Mendelson, by skill of Associated Press

Lee Mendelson, an Emmy Award-winning producer who used to be instrumental in bringing the holiday staple “A Charlie Brown Christmas” to tv in 1965 and wrote the iconic lyrics to the song “Christmas Time Is Right here,” died on Christmas morning at his home in Hillsborough, Calif. He used to be 86.

His son Jason confirmed his dying and said Mr. Mendelson, who had lung most cancers, died of congestive coronary heart failure.

Jason Mendelson said his father’s dying on Christmas — a day that he used to be strongly related to thanks to his music and tv productions — “used to be a comparatively serendipitous thing.”

Despite the popularity of “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” which used to be the principle of the “Peanuts” creator Charles M. Schulz, the venture virtually never materialized.

Mr. Mendelson approached Mr. Schulz about making a documentary about his existence, and the introduction of “Peanuts,” nonetheless used to be virtually grew to become down, in conserving with an interview in The Los Angeles Instances.

Mr. Schulz realized that Mr. Mendelson had made a documentary about Willie Mays, a baseball player he admired, and that sealed the deal.

“Neatly, if Willie Mays can believe you with his existence, perhaps I’m able to believe you with mine,” Mr. Schulz said.

After they completed the documentary, an ad agency for Coca-Cola shopping for family-oriented tv exhibits to sponsor known as Mr. Mendelson and requested if a “Peanuts” Christmas particular will likely be created, The Instances reported. Mr. Mendelson agreed.

Mr. Schulz, who died in 2000, created a yarn line, including the principle of a fragile tree, about Charlie Brown’s try and state a college Christmas play. Mr. Schulz did no longer desire fun be conscious to be frail and used to be dedicated to conserving a non secular message in the show conceal, in spite of opposition from Mr. Mendelson.

An animator, Invoice Melendez, and the jazz composer Vince Guaraldi were added to the venture.

Nonetheless, the iconic lyrics to “Christmas Time Is Right here” came from Mr. Mendelson.

“I authorized wrote, scribbled some words down on an envelope,” Mr. Mendelson beneficial the Television Academy Foundation in 2010. “And never scheme grand about it.”

The music used to be “severe to its acceptance,” he said, adding that the show conceal’s creators never scheme the song would turn proper into a Christmas fashioned. “That authorized came about over the years,” he said.

As one more of adult actors, Mr. Mendelson selected childhood to recount the characters, his family said. He also recruited his appreciate childhood to take part in assorted bright projects.

The show conceal grew to become successful, with extra than 15 million family views that night. This day it remains a vacation tv fixture.

“It grew to become fragment of everyone’s Christmas holidays,” Mr. Mendelson beneficial The Instances. “It used to be authorized handed on from generation to generation. We obtained this substantial preliminary target market and never lost them.”

Lee Mendelson used to be born on March 24, 1933, in San Francisco to Palmer Mendelson and the worn Jeanette Gleaming. His father owned a fruit and invent replace. He earned a stage in English from Stanford University in 1954, his family said, and entered the Air Force that same yr.

He grew to become eager with radio and tv and in 1961 landed a job at KPIX-TV in the San Francisco Bay Home, where he gained a Peabody Award for the most efficient locally produced documentary in the nation, “San Francisco Festival.” Two yr later, he began Lee Mendelson Film Productions Inc.

After the success of “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” Mr. Mendelson produced tv motion photos and shorts including “It’s the Mountainous Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” (1966), “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” (1973) and “It’s Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown!” (2015), for which he earned his 12th Emmy Award. He also produced the 121-episode series “Garfield and Chums.”

Three old marriages resulted in divorce. Mr. Mendelson is survived by his better half, Ploenta, and her son Ken, as wisely as his four childhood Glenn, Lynda, Jason and Sean, and eight grandchildren.

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