Charles M. Schulz (1922-2000) was the author of the most successful comic strip in history, Peanuts.
Born in 1922 in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA, Charles was soon nicknamed "Sparky", a nickname he was to have throughout his life. Talented from an early age, Schulz' kindergarten teacher told him that he would one day be an artist. His ambition from early in his life was to draw a daily comic strip.
During the Great Depression, Schulz' hard working father, Carl, struggled to keep both his family and his barber shop afloat. Carl Schulz not only managed to maintain two employees and to put food on the dinner table, but also found the means to enroll his son in a correspondence course in cartooning at what is now the Art Instruction Schools in Minneapolis.
Charles' mother struggled with cancer for a long time. She died soon after young Charles was drafted into the military for World War II. Up to that point Schulz had already started drawing cartoons but had not successfully sold them.
Back as a civilian, Schulz took two jobs, first lettering already-completed comics for a small magazine, and then a job at the Art Instruction Schools where he had taken the earlier art course. During this time he submitted his material to many publications and was successful in having some single comic panels accepted by the Saturday Evening Post. He soon had a comic included in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, L'il Folks.L'il Folks featuring Charlie Brown soon became the focus of Schulz' career.
After lots of marketing effort, United Feature Syndicate agreed to take Schulz aboard, and suggested a strip format instead of one panel. Because of potential name conflicts, the syndicate renamed the strip Peanuts, a decision that wasn't popular with Schulz to start out with because of the association with something "insignificant".
The strip gained popularity, though, and more and more newspapers began carrying it. Millions of people became attached to the lovable characters, and the strip ran for almost 50 years until Schulz death in Santa Rosa, California on February 12, 2000 at age 77.
Today, Peanuts lives on as one of the most successful comic strips in newspaper history, appearing in some 2,600 newspapers in 75 countries and translated into 21 languages.