Charles M. Schulz (1922 - 2000) was an American cartoonist and creator of the successful nationally syndicated comic strip Peanuts. Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, he was the only child of Dena and Carl Schulz. From an early age illustration and comics were an important part of Schultz's life. He would serve in the American Army during World War II. On October 2, 1950, the comic strip Peanuts debuted in seven newspapers. Featuring the stories of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus and Lucy, and a whole cast of other characters, Schulz's Peanuts would show the world a depth and humor that was not often seen in the comics. In his career Schulz was awarded the Reuben Award twice for his talents, and Peanuts strips would be read in over 2,600 newspapers. Schulz announced his retirement for health reasons in 1999, having drawn, inked and created the Peanuts stories for nearly 50 years. Schulz passed away shortly thereafter, on February 12, 2000, just hours before the final Peanuts Sunday strip appeared in newspapers. Schulz was a member of the Anderson Church of God. He was a universalist and believed that the way to worship God was to love others. His comics frequently quoted the Bible, as made famous by the speech Linus gave at the climax of the film A Charlie Brown Christmas, where Linus quotes the Gospel of Luke 2:8-14 to explain the true meaning of Christmas.