American marine science educator and artist (1961-2018)
Stephen McDannell Hillenburg (August 21, 1961 – November 26, 2018) was an American animator, cartoonist, director, producer, writer, voice actor, painter, and educator.
- I wanted to do a show about a character that was an innocent, and so I focused on a sea sponge because it's a funny animal, a strange one, I thought he was a funny, nerdy, squeaky-clean square.
- It finally dawned on me that if I was going to do my own show, all those things I lectured about and obsessed about would make for an interesting world.
- I think we all thought the show would be good, but I didn't ever assume it would catch on in a mass audience sort of way, that's unexpected, and we're flattered and relieved. Our characters act silly, even totally ridiculous at times, and most of our jokes don't come out of pop cultural references, he added. It seems like we're aiming at a child audience, but everyone can laugh at the basic human traits that are funny. It's playful, the humor is playful, the world is playful. You can kind of let go.
- People have to come together and realize how important our oceans are. One thing I’m hoping will come out of the documentary is the realization that the show came from something that’s precious, and that we need to appreciate it. … Hopefully, if you watch ‘SpongeBob,’ you see the plankton and the crabs and starfish, and you’ll want to take care of our oceans.
- Interview with Washington Post ahead of a "SpongeBob SquarePants" documentary (2009)