As a child actor, Chris Shea appeared in popular television shows such as The Odd Couple, Bonanza, Green Acres, and The Wonderful World of Disney. But I know and love him best as the voice of Linus Van Pelt in early Peanuts specials such as “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
When reviewing Guest Book entries last week, I was shocked to learn that Christopher Dylan Shea passed away in August at the age of 52 (memorial services were held for him on October 17th). When I read his Guest Book, one entry in particular caught my eye:
after 43 years apart we finally reunited at a tom petty concert in june he was the best part of the charlie brown specials his sincere voice was an inspiration I should know I was hoping to see him in august for a river trip but never heard from him good grief i will miss him you did know the meaning of christmas peter robbins, voice of charlie brown
The kid in me couldn’t help but think, “Wow…Charlie Brown just signed Linus’ Guest Book!” But the adult in me was touched to see that Chris and Peter had gotten together after all those years, and that they were full of smiles as they headed off to see Tom Petty:
Reading his obituary in the Eureka Times-Standard, I can’t help but smile to see that Christopher Shea lived a life that seems to reflect Linus’ best qualities:
Christopher was a colorful person with a playful spirit and a big heart. His smile was contagious and his family enjoyed his wonderfully sincere hugs. Christopher influenced many who crossed his path in a positive and creative way: he frequently lent a hand to others when they were in need. He had a generous nature and took genuine pleasure in other people’s good fortune. He loved communing with nature, listening to music, and he had a lifelong passion for literature.
As I watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” on TV tonight, I’ll be thinking of Chris and wondering if he knew the strong impact he had on kids like me who couldn’t wait to see the Peanuts holiday specials each year.