Peter Robbins, who was the first person to voice Charlie Brown in several “Peanuts” TV specials in the 1960s, has died. He was 65.
His family told Fox 5 San Diego on Tuesday that he died by suicide last week.
At 9 years old, Robbins first voiced Charlie Brown in “A Boy Named Charlie Brown,” which was a television documentary about “Peanuts” creator Charles M. Schulz released in 1963. He followed that up with the holiday classics “A Charlie Brown Christmas” in 1965 and “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” in 1966.
Throughout the ’60s, Robbins provided his voice for “Charlie Brown’s All Stars,” “You’re in Love, Charlie Brown,” “It’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown,” “It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown” and the 1969 feature film “A Boy Named Charlie Brown.” The film was directed by veteran animator Bill Melendez, who also provided the voices of Snoopy and Woodstock in dozens of TV specials, and was written by Schulz. It went on to gross $12 million at the box office and earned a nomination for best original song score at the Academy Awards.
When Robbins was 14, he was replaced by younger child actors who went on to voice Charlie Brown in subsequent projects, but he returned for anniversary specials “It’s Your 20th Television Anniversary, Charlie Brown” and “You Don’t Look 40, Charlie Brown.”
Besides his voice acting, Robbins appeared in episodes of “Rawhide,” “The Donna Reed Show,” “The Munsters,” “F Troop,” “Get Smart,” “Blondie” and “My Three Sons,” which was his final role in Hollywood.
After stepping away from acting, Robbins struggled with addiction and mental health, and he revealed as an adult he suffered from bipolar disorder and paranoid schizophrenia. In 2015, he was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison for sending threatening letters to multiple people.
If you or anyone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.