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Stephen Hillenburg Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trade Mark (1)  | Trivia (5)  | Personal Quotes (9)

Overview (4)

Born in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, USA
Died in Southern California, USA  (ALS - Lou Gehrig's disease)
Birth NameStephen McDannell Hillenburg
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Stephen Hillenburg is the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants. Nickelodeon's highest-rated cartoons for children and a staple of American television. Stephen was born on August 21st, 1961 in Lawton, Oklahoma and raised in Anaheim, California, Hillenburg became fascinated with the ocean as a child and developed an interest in art. He started his professional career in 1984, instructing marine biology, at the Orange County Marine Institute, where he wrote The Intertidal Zone, an informative comic book about tide-pool animals, which he used to educate his students. In 1989, two years after leaving teaching, Hillenburg enrolled at the California Institute of the Arts to pursue a career in animation. He was later offered a job on the Nickelodeon animated television series Rocko's Modern Life (1993-1996) after his success with short films The Green Beret and Wormholes (both 1992), which he made while studying animation. In 1994, Hillenburg began developing The Intertidal Zone characters and concepts for what became SpongeBob SquarePants. The show premiered in 1999 and has aired since then. He also directed The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004), which he originally intended to be the series finale. However, Nickelodeon wanted to produce more episodes, so Hillenburg resigned as the showrunner. He went back to making short films, with Hollywood Blvd., USA (2013). In 2015, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water was released; the sequel to the 2004 film, it marked Hillenburg's return to the franchise, after he co-wrote the story and acted as an executive producer on the project. Besides his two Emmy Awards and six Annie Awards for SpongeBob SquarePants, Hillenburg also received other recognition, such as an accolade from Heal the Bay for his efforts on elevating marine life awareness, and the Television Animation Award from the National Cartoonists Society. Despite this, he was involved in public controversies, including one that centered on speculation over the SpongeBob character's intended sexual orientation, and a lawsuit that was filed against him. Hillenburg was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2017, but stated he would continue to work on his show as long as possible. He died on November 26, 2018, a year and a half after his diagnosis.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: hillenburgfan

Spouse (1)

Karen Hillenburg (1998 - 26 November 2018) ( his death) ( 1 child)

Trade Mark (1)

Creator of Spongebob Squarepants

Trivia (5)

As a child he loved the films of Jacques Cousteau, so Stephen Hillenburg earned a degree in natural-resource planning and interpretation, with an emphasis in marine resources from Humboldt State University (Arcata, Calif.) in 1984. For three years he taught marine biology at the Orange County Marine Institute (now known as the Orange County Ocean Institute), in Dana Point, California. He had always enjoyed drawing and painting, so he pursued a master's-degree program in experimental animation at the California Institute of the Arts, in Valencia. All these experiences came together to create SpongeBob SquarePants.
Owns a production company called United Plankton Pictures.
Had one son, Clay Hillenburg (b. circa 1998), with his wife Karen Hillenburg.
In March 2017, Hillenburg disclosed to Variety magazine that he had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a terminal illness that affects and causes the death of neurons that control the brain and the spinal cord. He released a statement to the publication, in which he said that he would continue to work on SpongeBob SquarePants (1999) "for as long as [he is] able." He added, "My family and I are grateful for the outpouring of love and support. We ask that our sincere request for privacy be honored during this time." At the time, Hillenburg was in the early stages of the disease, according to a source close to him. Hillenburg died on November 26, 2018, from complications from ALS.
His ashes were sprinkled off the coast of Los Angeles County, California.

Personal Quotes (9)

"There is something kind of unique about [SpongeBob]. It seems to be a refreshing breath from the pre-irony era. There's no sense of the elbow-in-rib, tongue-in-cheek aesthetic that so permeates the rest of American culture -- including kids' shows like the Rugrats. I think what's subversive about it is it's so incredibly naive -- deliberately. Because there's nothing in it that's trying to be hip or cool or anything else, hipness can be grafted onto it." -- Robert Thompson, professor at the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University, in the New York Times, July 21, 2002.
We want the show to be really funny. But I think in the end the message is: Treat people the way you expect to be treated. And another connection to any sort of message is that a lot of the stories come out of the personal experience I and the other writers had as kids--the harsh lessons in life which are usually very funny in retrospect, like maybe what happens when you learn your first curse word and you don't know what it means. [Washington Post, Oct. 15, 2001]
Our characters act silly, even totally ridiculous at times, and most of our jokes don't come out of pop cultural references. It seems like we're aiming at a child audience, everyone can laugh at the basic human traits that are funny. It's playful, the humor is playful, the world is playful.
[when asked why the octopus has six tentacles instead of eight:] "Technically I just thought he'd be a little too cumbersome as a character to have too many legs visible. Maybe that's why he's so angry!"
I think the connection to SpongeBob is that sponges are the most elastic, changing, plastic creatures . . . and I wanted him to be able to do things that were really magical. So [SpongeBob] has these really creative moments when he can re-form himself. But most sponges in the ocean are sedentary: They attach themselves to a rock and sit and filter-feed the rest of their lives, and reproduce, and that's about it. Not that they are not interesting, but they are not . . . mobile. They don't cook Krabbie Patties! [Washington Post, Oct. 15, 2001]
When you set out to do a show about a sponge, you don't expect the kind of appeal that he's had. [Detroit News, August 8, 2002]
At first I drew a few natural sponges -- amorphous shapes, blobs -- which was the correct thing to do biologically as a marine science teacher. Then I drew a square sponge and it looked so funny. I think as far as cartoon language goes he was easier to recognize. He seemed to fit the character type I was looking for. [Washington Post, Oct. 15, 2001]
Even the villainous Plankton, he's still flawed and you still root for him in a way, and the style of humor is simple and it's about human behavior, and everybody can identify with that.
Working as a marine science educator, I had the chance to see how enamored kids are with undersea life, especially tide pool creatures. By combining this knowledge with my love for animation, I came up with SpongeBob SquarePants.

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