Charles Monroe Schulz (November 26, 1922 – February 12, 2000) was a cartoonist. He graduated from Central High School, in St. Paul, MN, in 1940. He was a member of the yearbook staff at Central (although the drawings he created for the publication were rejected). Schulz, who had been interested in drawing since childhood, first began publishing a series of one-panel cartoons in 1947 (under the title Li’l Folks). In 1950, another comic strip he had developed was first published, appearing in seven newspapers. This strip was given the name Peanuts by United Feature Syndicate (a name Schulz never actually liked). Peanuts ended up becoming arguably the most popular and influential comic strip in the world, published in 75 countries and 25 languages at its peak of popularity. Books, animated specials, and merchandise followed. A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown are still aired on television every year. Schulz published Peanuts right up until his death, with the final strip he drew appearing in newspapers the very next day. He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in June 2000.