|This article relies on references to primary sources. (August 2012)|
|First appearance||March 6, 1961|
|Last appearance||November 22, 1985
Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown (film)
It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown (television special)
Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown (brief cameo appearance)
|Voiced by||Ann Altieri (1963–1969)
Lynda Mendelson (1969–1973)
Lynn Mortensen (1974)
Linda Jenner (1974)
Linda Ercoli (1972–1975)
Michelle Muller (1976)
Roseline Rubens (1980)
Stacy Heather Tolkin (1983)
Mary Tunnell (1983)
Stacy Ferguson (1985)
Brittany M. Thornton (1990) (Possibly)
Noley Thornton (1996)
Jodie Sweetin (1992)
Kaitlyn Maggio (2003)
Jolean Wejbe (2006)
Alison Cohen (2008)
Frieda is a character in the comic strip Peanuts by Charles Schulz. According to Schulz, Frieda's character was inspired by his longtime friend Frieda Rich, a local artist whom he met while taking classes at the Art Instruction Schools in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She was a regular in Peanuts throughout the 1960s, but as newer characters were phased in towards the end of the decade, she began appearing less often, and she ceased to be a featured character after 1985, making only cameo appearances since then in various television specials. Today she is best remembered as the Peanuts character with naturally curly hair, of which she is extremely proud.
Frieda has red naturally curly hair, of which she is quite proud. She was the only girl on Charlie Brown's baseball team to not wear a cap because it would cover up her naturally curly hair. She often wears dresses, usually purple. She also wears saddle shoes and has an upturned nose.
Personality and characteristics
Frieda made her debut on March 6, 1961, when Linus introduced her to Charlie Brown. She was the eleventh permanent character to join the cast, and the first since Sally was born in 1959. She was initially presented, in both the advance press release and the first few strips, as Linus' schoolmate. She sat behind him in class, and although he considered her a friend, he also confessed that she was such a chatterbox, he hadn't heard a word their teacher said the whole semester. Her most prominent feature is her "naturally curly hair," which she manages to work into every conversation, to the dismay of those around her. This self-love about her hair leads people to believe that she is rather vain. In turn, Frieda herself believes that the other girls are jealous of her hair (and often becomes disappointed or depressed when the other girls tell her that they're not jealous of her hair), and also that "people expect more of her" because she has it. Nevertheless, enough people in the neighborhood like her that she got thirty valentines one year. Journalist Christopher Caldwell described her as, "A fetching, kind and charming girl, who throws her deeper goodness away because she wants to be admired for such superficialities as 'being a good conversationalist."  She admitted that she used to be an avid reader until she started getting too busy.
Frieda Rich, the character's namesake, was once asked whether she bore any character resemblances to her cartoon counterpart. She replied, "I recognize myself," adding as an example that while talking to Schulz once about Universalists and Congregationalists, she had jokingly called herself a "conversationalist," and Schulz borrowed that for the strip.
Relationships with other characters
Frieda was usually nicer to Charlie Brown than most of the other girls in the neighborhood. Unlike Lucy, Patty, and Violet, she seemed to be mindful of his feelings and never teased him or put him down to his face (except for rare moments in the Peanuts specials), though she did get mad at him a few times. She eventually joined Charlie Brown's baseball team as an outfielder, but refused to wear a baseball cap because it would hide her naturally curly hair. She seemed to be one of the few characters that Charlie Brown felt confident enough to stand up to, as he did once when she was badgering Snoopy about chasing rabbits and he told her to mind her own business.
Linus van Pelt
Linus was the first character in the series that Frieda met. She sat behind him in school, and after they became friends he took her around and introduced her to some of the other kids in the neighborhood. Not much is shown of their friendship beyond those strips that introduce her, but even that early in their relationship they seemed to look out for each other. Linus tried to protect her the first time she unintentionally upset Lucy (see below), and she in turn was one of the few kids who didn't see his need for a security blanket as a bad thing, for which he was so grateful that he kissed her hand.
Lucy van Pelt
Frieda's relationship with Lucy got off to a rocky start when Frieda, as usual, brought up her naturally curly hair almost as soon as they were introduced. Lucy became visibly offended by this, to the point where Linus (performing the introductions) felt it necessary to beg Lucy not to slug her. Despite Frieda's faux pas the two girls eventually became friends, and when they played baseball for Charlie Brown's team they often spent their time in the outfield chatting instead of paying attention to the game.
Frieda has made Lucy jealous by leaning on Schroeder's piano. Schroeder seemed to dislike her as much as he did Lucy when she didn't know who Beethoven was (and after Frieda claimed that she was hanging around Schroeder because she was a music lover). In The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show, Frieda commented to Lucy that Schroeder wasn't very friendly. When Frieda was about to kiss Schroeder while he was playing his piano, she was surprised when she found she had kissed Snoopy on the lips. On another occasion, Lucy (with encouragement from Snoopy) actually got into a physical altercation with Frieda.
Out of all the characters, Frieda has the most trouble getting along with Snoopy, whom she frequently accuses of being "lazy" and "useless." She has strong pre-conceived notions of what a beagle should be doing with its time; she wants Snoopy to be a working dog and a hunter (especially a hunter of rabbits), and not spend so much time sleeping on top of his doghouse. She often comes over and tries to goad Snoopy into chasing rabbits with her, either by threat or persuasion, which he is always reluctant to do. If he does consent to "hunt," he'll either sandbag it and only pretend to look for the rabbits, or if he does find rabbits he'll frolic and play with them once he's out of Frieda's sight. Once, in a fit of frustration, she reported Snoopy's behavior to the "Head Beagle," which led to him being found guilty of not meeting his rabbit quota and left the neighborhood kids mad at her for turning him in.
Leland and Frieda are shown as brother and sister in the TV special It's Spring Training, Charlie Brown before he goes out into the "big leagues". The comic strip itself never revealed whether or not Frieda has any siblings.
Faron is a male cat that Frieda's mother bought for her. Frieda believed Snoopy was too smug for his own good, and decided that having a cat in the neighborhood would take him down a few notches. Her choice of cat ended up being more comical than intimidating; Faron is seemingly boneless, and she carries him everywhere, draped over her arms. He seemed to be as unpopular with the other neighborhood kids as he was with Snoopy; Frieda tried to find someone to hold Faron for her whenever she needed to go somewhere like the library that wouldn't allow cats inside, but she usually had a lot of trouble finding a willing volunteer. A running gag included Charlie Brown, Linus, and even Snoopy getting trapped into holding Faron while Frieda ran her errands.
Faron was named for country music singer Faron Young, whom Schulz "admired very much," but he only made a few appearances in the strip. Schulz was not satisfied with his own drawing of a cat; also, he wanted to continue exploring Snoopy's fantasy life, and felt like having a cat in the strip brought Snoopy back to being too much of a real dog. Schulz didn't even draw Faron for his last appearance, in which the cat got stuck in a tree.
Faron once spoke English to Snoopy in a thought balloon, making him one of the few non-human or non-dog animals to do so.
Although Frieda was a regular character from 1961 to the late 1960s, her appearances gradually began dwindling. According to Charles Schulz, "I realized that Frieda added relatively little to the strip and had few character traits beyond bragging about her hair and her obsession with getting Snoopy to chase rabbits." Frieda's last speaking role was in the March 20, 1975 strip, although she would sometimes appear as a background character into the 1980s. Frieda also continued to make appearances in the animated Peanuts specials and the Saturday morning series The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show, even being mentioned in the lyrics of the latter's theme song. She is also featured as an unseen character in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, being mentioned several times, and yelled to at one point after Lucy heard one of Charlie Brown's secrets. Also in this show, her characteristic fondness for hunting rabbits is assumed by Sally. Frieda appeared in 150 strips and appeared for the last time on November 22, 1985.
- The Peanuts FAQ, accessed 10/14/07
- "Hullo There, Frieda." Tucson Citizen, Feb. 28, 1961, p. 15
- Schulz (2006) The Complete Peanuts 1961-1962, p. 29. Comic originally published 1961-03-07.
- Schulz (2006) The Complete Peanuts 1961-1962, p. 114. Comic originally published 1961-09-22.
- Schulz (2007) The Complete Peanuts 1963-1964, p. 148. Comic originally published 1963-12-11.
- Schulz (2007) The Complete Peanuts 1963-1964, p. 20. Comic originally published 1963-02-15.
- Caldwell, Christopher. "Against Snoopy" New York Press, Dec. 28, 1999
- Associated Press. "Frieda Doesn't Have Problems Like Charlie." Winona Daily News, Oct. 5, 1969, p. 7
- Schulz (2006) The Complete Peanuts 1961-1962, p. 39. Comic originally published 1961-03-30.
- Schulz (2006) The Complete Peanuts 1961-1962, p. 58. Comic originally published 1961-05-14.
- Schulz (2006) The Complete Peanuts 1961-1962, p. 29. Comic originally published 1961-03-08.
- Schulz (2006) The Complete Peanuts 1961-1962, p. 30. Comic originally published 1961-03-09.
- Schulz (2006) The Complete Peanuts 1961-1962, p. 220. Comic originally published 1962-05-27.
- Schulz (2007) The Complete Peanuts 1963-1964, p. 303. Comic originally published 1964-12-06.
- Schulz (2006) Frieda speaks so vehemently of this that Charlie Brown asked in slight exasperation, "Are you buying a cat or a gunfighter?!" (to which Snoopy adds, "Touche!"). The Complete Peanuts 1961-1962, p. 59. Comic originally published 1961-05-17.
- Schulz (2006) The Complete Peanuts 1961-1962, pp. 68-69, 83, 133.
- Schulz, Charles (1975). Peanuts Jubilee: My Life and Art With Charlie Brown and Others. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston. ISBN 0-03-015081-7.
- Schulz, Charles (1975). Peanuts Jubilee: My Life and Art With Charlie Brown and Others. New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston. ISBN 0-03-015081-7.
- Schulz, Charles (2006). The Complete Peanuts: 1961 to 1962. Seattle, WA: Fantagraphics. ISBN 1-56097-672-1.
- Schulz, Charles (2007). The Complete Peanuts: 1963 to 1964. Seattle, WA: Fantagraphics. ISBN 1-56097-723-X.
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