First voice actor to portray Charlie Brown dies at age 65

Peter Robbins, the voice actor who was the first to portray Charlie Brown in a series of beloved cartoon specials in the 1960s, has died, Fox News reported Wednesday. He was 65.

Tragically, Robbins took his own life, his family confirmed to Fox 5 San Diego.

The first Charlie Brown

According to Fox News, Robbins voiced Charlie Brown in the first Peanuts TV special, A Charlie Brown Christmas, which aired in 1965, and went on to appear in other classic shorts like It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown; You’re in Love, Charlie Brown; and He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown, as well as the full-length movie A Boy Named Charlie Brown. 

Besides the Peanuts specials, Robbins also appeared in shows like Rawhide, The Donna Reed Show, The Munsters, F Troop, and Get Smart, and he had a recurring role on the series Blondie, according to IMDb.

He quit acting in 1972 and went on to work in real estate in San Diego. He also worked as a DJ in Palm Springs for a time.

According to the Daily Mail, Robbins was born in Los Angeles in 1956 as Louis Nanasi to Hungarian parents. Like many child actors, Robbins led a troubled adult life. He struggled with drug addiction and bipolar disorder, and he had legal troubles as well.

He was sentenced to five years in prison in 2015 for threatening the manager of a mobile home park and the San Diego County sheriff, Fox News reported. Robbins also pleaded guilty in 2013 for threatening and stalking his ex-girlfriend and her plastic surgeon, according to the New York Post.

“I’m a better person for it”

Robbins was open about his mental health problems. After his release from prison in 2019, he made an appeal to fans to give him a second chance.

“I would recommend to anybody that has bipolar disorder to take it seriously because your life can turn around in the span of a month, like it did to me,” he said, according to Fox News. “I came out of prison and I’m a better person for it. I’m much more humble and grateful and thankful that I lived through the experience.”

He added, “Charlie Brown fans are the greatest fans in the world and everybody is willing, I hope, to give me a second chance.”

Robbins was a devoted fan of his iconic character. He had a tattoo of the “blockhead” and his pet beagle, and even had a dog named Snoopy, the Daily Mail said.

According to his agent, the voice actor had checked himself into a mental hospital shortly after Christmas and left a few days before taking his own life last week. RIP.

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