Lee Mendelson, 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' producer, dies on Christmas Day at 86

Lee Mendelson, a film producer credited with more than 50 animated television specials including "A Charlie Brown Christmas,” died on Christmas Day at his California home.

Variety reports that the cause of death was cancer. He was 86. Mendelson's son, Jason, told TMZ, "It wasn't great for us, but to have him pass on Christmas really ties into his history and legacy."

Mendelson wrote the lyrics to "Christmas Time is Here," featured in "A Charlie Brown Christmas." Over his career, he won 12 Emmys, four Peabody Awards, an Oscar nomination and two Grammy nominations, Variety reported.

He was also responsible for bringing “Garfield” to television, working with comic book strip creator Jim Davis.

In addition to children's programming, Mendelson produced documentaries and network specials showcasing entertainers and athletes including Paul Newman, Lucille Ball, Bing Crosby, Whoopi Goldberg and Muhammad Ali, Variety reported.

Mendelson's survivors include his wife, Ploenta; children Glenn, Lynda, Jason and Sean; stepson Ken; and eight grandchildren, Variety reported.

To honor his memory, his family requests that donations be made in Mendelson's name to Second Harvest Food BankSan Francisco-Marin Food Bank or the Television Academy Foundation.

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