Dead People You Should Know: The Legacy of Stephen Hillenburg

Stephen Hillenburg is a man to remember. Most know him as the voice of Spongebob in “Spongebob Squarepants,” he was also an animator and marine biologist. Stephen did a lot for the industry and was a well respected man that should never be forgotten.

Born on August 21st, 1961, Hillenburg developed a fascination with the ocean as a child. He majored in marine biology at Humboldt State University and minored in art. Hillenburg claimed he blossomed as a painter while studying there. He went on to start his professional career in 1984 working as a marine biology instructor at the Orange County Marine Institute. While teaching there he actually created “Bob the Sponge”, a foreshadowing of what was to come later in his life. He enjoyed working with kids and was a teacher for two years. He wrote a children’s comic book about tide pools to help educate them. He then got a job at Nickelodeon and Spongebob was created in 1999. The first episode aired on May 1, 1999. He was the creator and producer of the show. He also made a couple of short films including Wormholes (1992). 

Hillenburg's  original sense of humor brought joy and laughter to generations of families. Spongebob became America’s 5th longest running television program and the 12th season is set to air with 26 episodes.

Stephen Hillenburg will be remembered as a unique figure in the American television community. His death in late November 2018 hit a soft spot for many. He subtly implemented real life situations into Spongebob and created things for a purpose. Adults now will reflect on their childhood and remember Spongebob as a household name that everyone knew and loved. Whether you watched it with your friends, on the holidays, or had late night Spongebob marathons, most people have a history with the show and Stephen is the one to thank for such fond memories.

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