Peter Robbins, whose voice brought the “Peanuts” character Charlie Brown to life on television in the 1960s but who struggled with mental illness and served prison time later in his life, died on Jan. 18 in Oceanside, Calif. He was 65.
The cause was suicide, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner. A list of his survivors was not immediately available.
At age 9, Mr. Robbins achieved a breakthrough when the producers of the 1965 TV movie “A Charlie Brown Christmas” cast him as the voice of the hapless but endearing central character.
Introduced in Charles M. Schulz’s popular comic strip “Peanuts,” Charlie Brown would become a sentimental presence on the screen with his catchphrase, “Good grief!,” familiar yellow shirt and frequent teasing by his friend Lucy.
Mr. Robbins, who was born Louis G. Nanasi, would share in the franchise’s success, narrating at least six other television and movie productions, including “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” in 1966 and “You’re in Love, Charlie Brown” a year later.
During his career, Mr. Robbins appeared in episodes of the television shows “Rawhide,” “The Munsters,” “Get Smart” and “My Three Sons,” according to IMDb.
In the decades after his work as the voice of Charlie Brown, Mr. Robbins was unable to sustain his early success and publicly grappled with mental illness and substance abuse.
In a 2019 interview with KSWB-TV, a Fox station in San Diego, he said that he had bipolar disorder. The station spoke to Mr. Robbins after his release from prison, where he had served 80 percent of a nearly five-year sentence for threatening several people, including the San Diego County sheriff and the property manager of a mobile home park near San Diego.
In 2013, Mr. Robbins pleaded guilty to threatening his onetime girlfriend and stalking a doctor who performed breast-enhancement surgery on her, the station reported.
He was arrested again in 2015 for violating the terms of this probation, according to the station, which reported that Mr. Robbins had made criminal threats toward a judge and written letters from jail offering to pay $50,000 to have William D. Gore, the San Diego County sheriff, killed.
“I went on a manic phase where I bought a motor home, a mobile home, two German sports cars and a pitbull named Snoopy,” Mr. Robbins told the station in 2019.
He said he regretted not getting help sooner for his mental illness.
“I would recommend to anybody that has bipolar disorder to take it seriously,” he said, “because your life can turn around in a span of a month like it did to me.”
If you are having thoughts of suicide, in the United States call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources. Go here for resources outside the United States.
Susan Campbell Beachy contributed research.