SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — Bill Melendez, the animator who gave life to Snoopy, Charlie Brown and other Peanuts characters on scores of movies and television specials, died Tuesday. He was 91.

Melendez died of natural causes Tuesday at St. John's Health Center, according to publicist Amy Goldsmith.

Melendez's nearly seven decades as a professional animator began in 1938 when he was hired by Walt Disney Studios and worked on Mickey Mouse cartoons and classic animated features such as "Pinocchio" and "Fantasia."

He went on to animate Peanuts specials such as "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and was the voice of Snoopy, who never spoke intelligible words but issued expressive howls, sighs and sobs.