Stephen Hillenburg died at the age of 57 this past Monday at his southern California home of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). James Freeman (WSJ’s Best of the Web) and J.J. McCullough (NR) paid tribute to Hillenburg as the creator of the immortal cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants. Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times obituary also salutes Hillenburg’s work.
Two of my three daughters were fans of SpongeBob and the Nickelodeon series in which he stars. We contributed a modest amount to what James Freeman refers to as “the global merchandise sales [that] alone have gone north of $13 billion for a brand that has also yielded two animated feature films, nine music albums, a video game and a Tony-winning Broadway musical.”
Freeman concludes his tribute: “In a celebrated episode entitled, ‘No Weenies Allowed,’ SpongeBob attempts to prove his toughness by relating that after stubbing his toe while watering his spice garden, he only cried for 20 minutes. It seems that the show creator’s young fans may take quite a bit longer to get over his passing. R.I.P. Stephen Hillenburg.”