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More Than a Sponge

December 13, 2018

For close to two decades American Animator, Stephen Hillenburg brought the beloved T.V. character “Spongebob SquarePants” to the homes of many. On November 26th, 2018 Hillenburg sadly passed away at age 57 from his continuous battle A.L.S.

Before the iconic yellow sea sponge was created. Hillenburg was a former marine biology teacher at the Orange County Marine Institute. He also did many different animated projects in the ’80s for California’s Ocean Institute. Hillenburg later earned a degree in Fine Arts at the California of Arts Institute in Valencia.    

With both a love for animation and sealife, he became a television director and writer for Nickelodeon. According to Your Tengo Hillenburg stated “It started me thinking: if I’m going to do a show, I would do it about these invertebrates and these crazy animals that exist in the ocean, and it would be the perfect fusion of the things that I did. It was that moment where I said, maybe I should pursue this, you know, go down this path.” Thus begins one of the greatest cartoons ever created.

Spongebob SquarePants takes place in an ocean city named “Bikini Bottom.” With all sorts of different foolish and diverse relatable characters such as Spongebob himself who lives in a pineapple. This outlandish character works at the Krusty Krab flipping “krabby patties”, along with his crude clarinet playing coworker Squidward Tentacles who always seems to have a problem with Spongebob. Also, we can’t forget Spongebob’s best friend Patrick Star, who lives under a rock.

Spongebob SquarePants has been around since 1999 and is still airing today. It’s been concluded the Spongebob franchise has brought billions of dollars to Nickelodeon. By 2004 Hillenburg resigned telling the Los Angeles Times, “I reached a point,” he said, “Where I felt I’d contributed a lot and said what I wanted to say.” Hillenburg sure did. After his resignation, the company continued his empire with new episodes of Spongebob SquarePants, children’s books, toys, a new 3D movie, and a Broadway Musical.

With his passing, Hillenburg will be remembered as that guy who brought us the beloved T.V. character Spongebob SquarePants. He taught us about friendship and the power of an infinite imagination. One thing is for sure, Stephen Hillenburg’s legacy will continue for many generations to come.  



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