Peter Robbins, original voice of Peanuts’ Charlie Brown character, dies at 65
Actor Peter Robbins, the original voice of beloved Peanuts character Charlie Brown, has died. He was 65.
Robbins died by suicide, according to a statement his friend and agent, Dylan Novak, sent to The Times Wednesday. Robbins’ family told Fox 5 San Diego that the Carlsbad resident died last week.
Robbins, who frequented comic book conventions, began voicing Charlie Brown in the 1960s and is credited for his work on the holiday classics “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (1965) and “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” (1966), as well as “A Boy Named Charlie Brown” (1969) and several other TV films and shorts. In all, he provided the voice of Charlie Brown in seven “Peanuts” TV specials between 1965 and 1969, according to IMDb.
“He was a great friend and the most generous celebrity I’ve ever met,” Novak said. “He needed money more than anyone else at the shows he attended, but instead gave away so much free merchandise because he couldn’t stand someone to walk away sad.”
As a child actor, Robbins’ credits included playing Alexander Bumstead in the late-1960s comedy “Blondie,” which also starred Patricia Harty, Jim Backus and Will Hutchins. He also had guest roles on television’s “The Munsters,” “Get Smart” and “My Three Sons.”
As the voice of Charlie Brown, he loved the so-called “blockhead” so much that he had the character and his dog Snoopy tattooed on his arm. He also named his own dog after the Peanuts pup.
His film and TV career fizzled in the early 1970s. As an adult, Robbins worked as a real estate agent and lived in the San Diego area.
He long suffered from mental illness, Novak said, and was very open about it.
“Every convention we went to, he used his platform to encourage anyone who suffers from mental disorders to get help immediately so they didn’t end up making the same mistakes he had made,” Novak said.
Robbins spoke candidly about his manic episodes after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He was also treated for addictions to drugs, alcohol and sex.
“I went on a manic phase where I bought a motor home, a mobile home, two German sports cars and a pit bull named Snoopy,” he told Fox 5 in 2019 after serving a second stint in prison.
In “The Peanut Papers,” Ann Patchett, Kevin Powell and Jonathan Franzen are among those who explain how Charles Schulz’s comic strip shaped their worlds.
The news station’s reporter Phil Blauer was a longtime friend of Robbins and paid tribute to him on Twitter.
“My heart is broken today. I just found out that my good friend #PeterRobbins, the original voice of #CharlieBrown has died,” he wrote Tuesday. “May he rest in peace and soar in heaven. I only hope he finally kicks the football among the angels.”
In 2013, Robbins pleaded guilty to threatening and stalking his ex-girlfriend and a plastic surgeon and served time for the conviction. He was released in 2015.
He was incarcerated and released again in 2019 and had planned to turn his life around and write a book, “Confessions of a Blockhead,” about his experiences behind bars.
He credited Charlie Brown with getting him through his darker moments.
“Charlie Brown fans are the greatest fans in the world,” Robbins told Fox 5 in 2019. “And everybody is willing, I hope, to give me a second chance.”
It's a date
Get our L.A. Goes Out newsletter, with the week's best events, to help you explore and experience our city.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.