Fun Facts About ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ Creator Stephen Hillenburg (RIP)
Photo: Junko Kimura (Getty Images)
On the surface, SpongeBob SquarePants probably didn’t seem like a good idea. But, Stephen Hillenburg‘s animated franchise about a yellow sponge who dwells in a sunken pineapple and goes on silly adventures with his undersea pals became the definitive Nickelodeon kids’ show of the 21st Century.
Hillenburg died Monday due to complications of ALS. The 57-year-old, multiple Emmy-winner lived a charmed life centered around his two great passions in life (animation and the ocean) which he melded together to make SpongeBob SquarePants. Here are some fun facts about Hillenburg and SpongeBob that you might not know.
Gay Or Nay?
One of the constant rumors that has trailed SpongeBob since its inception was that he was gay. Hillenburg addressed the rumors by saying the character is "somewhat asexual."
Starman Was A Huge Fan
SpongeBob had a number of famous cameos but the greatest guest appearance was by David Bowie who played Lord Royal Highness in Atlantis SquarePantis.
Before going into animation, Hillenburg taught marine biology at the Orange County Marine Institute. "I had the chance to see how enamored kids are with undersea life, especially tide pool creatures, " said the Humboldt State grad. "By combining this knowledge with my love for animation, I came up with SpongeBob SquarePants."
Photo: Uriel Sinai (Getty Images)
Like many kids who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, Hillenburg was a big fan of Jacques Cousteau, the legendary French ocean explorer, conservationist, and documentarian. Hillenburg was inspired by his idol to go scuba diving, which he said "blew his mind."
Photo: Keystone-France (Getty Images)
You can find a treasure trove of conspiracy theories surrounding SpongeBob, but the most realistic one floating around is based on an actual event. In 1946, several nuclear devices were detonated over the Pacific Ocean island Bikini Atoll. SpongeBob and his bizarro buddies live in the underwater world of Bikini Bottom.
Another icon who shaped Hillenburg’s life and career was Max Fleischer. The legend behind Betty Boop, Superman, and Popeye cartoons is considered "the father of modern animation."
Karen Plankton (a.k.a. Wifey)
The computer wife of SpongeBob nemesis Plankton was named after Hillenburg’s spouse Karen and voiced by Jill Talley, who happens to be the better half of SpongeBob voice actor Tom Kenny.