Home Channels Industry Stephen Hillenburg, Creator of “SpongeBob SquarePants,” 1961 – 2018

Stephen Hillenburg, Creator of “SpongeBob SquarePants,” 1961 – 2018

Stephen Hillenburg

Stephen Hillenburg, creator of Nickelodeon’s hit animated series SpongeBob SquarePants, passed away on Monday, November 26, 2018, at the age of 57. He died of complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which he was diagnosed with last year.

Hillenburg moved from a career as a marine biology teacher at the Orange County Marine Institute (now the Ocean Institute) to animation in 1987, enrolling at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia. After graduating with a degree in experimental animation, he began working for Nickelodeon as a writer and director for Rocko’s Modern Life. However, a comic book titled The Intertidal Zone that Hillenburg wrote and drew as a teacher inspired Bikini Bottom and its madcap denizens in SpongeBob SquarePants. The show premiered on Nickelodeon in 1999 and became a runaway hit, airing continuously ever since. Hillenburg was the executive producer and showrunner from the premiere to 2004, overseeing the show turning into a genuine phenomenon and making a successful leap to movie screens with The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie in 2004. Hillenburg then turned the show over to Paul Tibbitt, although he did co-write and executive produce the second SpongeBob SquarePants movie, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water in 2015.

Hillenburg is survived by his wife Karen (for whom Karen Plankton was named), his son Clay, his mother Nancy, his brother Brian and wife Isabel, and nieces Emma and Hazel.

(Sources: Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter. Splash image by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

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Last pup of a dying planet, a young German Shepherd is rocketed to Earth, where he is bombarded by cosmic gamma rays emitted by a radioactive spider. Crash-landing in the forgotten land of Hubba Hubba, he is discovered by the Who-You-Callin'-Ancient One and his lovely wife Pookie. Instilled with their traditional American values, he spends his young adulthood roaming the globe, learning all the secrets of Comic-Fu. Donning battle armor fashioned from spilled chemicals splashed by lightning, he becomes the Sensational Shield of Sequential Art ACE THE BATHOUND! Look, it sounds a lot better than the truth. Born in Brooklyn, moved to Queens at 3 and then New Jersey at 10. Throughout high school, college, grad school, and gainful employment, two things have remained constant: 1) I am a colossal nerd, and 2) I have spent far too much time reading comics, and then reading and writing about them. Currently working as a financial programmer in New York City, while continuing to discover all the wonderful little surprises (and expenses) of owning your a home in the suburbs. Shares the above with a beautiful, wonderful, and incredibly understanding wife named Frances (who, thankfully, participates in most of my silly hobbies) and a large furry dog named Brownie (who, sadly, does not). Comics, toys, Apple Macintosh computers, video games, and eBay