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Stephen McDannell "Steve" Hillenburg (August 21, 1961 – November 26, 2018) was an American marine biologist, marine science teacher, and animator best known for creating the Nickelodeon series SpongeBob SquarePants. He owned the series' production company, United Plankton Pictures, and was also a writer for Rocko's Modern Life. In 1998, he married his wife Karen Hillenburg, whom he named Karen Plankton after. They had one son together.

On November 26, 2018, Hillenburg passed away from complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Trivia

  • He served as the creative director/producer for the last season of Rocko's Modern Life.
  • Hillenburg was the first creator of a Nickelodeon animated series (Nicktoons) to pass away.
  • According to Vincent Waller on Twitter, the episode "Pineapple RV" was the final SpongeBob episode to be fully finished before Stephen Hillenburg's death.[1]
  • Season 11 is the last season to end before Hillenburg's passing.
    • "Goons on the Moon" is the last SpongeBob episode to premiere in airing order before Hillenburg's passing.
    • "The String" was the last 6-minute SpongeBob episode to premiere during Stephen Hillenburg's lifetime.
  • Season 12 is the last SpongeBob season to premiere before Hillenburg's passing.
    • "FarmerBob" is the last SpongeBob episode to premiere in production order before Hillenburg's passing.
  • The SpongeBob Movie: The Sponge Out of Water is the last entry of the SpongeBob SquarePants film trilogy to be released during Stephen Hillenburg's lifetime.
    • The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water: The Junior Novelization]], Plank-Ton to the Rescue!, Plank-ton's Big Plan!, Krabby Patty Caper, The Good, The Bad, and the Krabby! were the last SpongeBob movie books to be released during Stephen Hillenburg's lifetime.
      • SpongeBob HeroPants was the last SpongeBob movie based video game to be released during Stephen Hillenburg's lifetime.
  • The Legend of Boo-Kini Bottom DVD, Big Hits: Volume 1, The First & Second Seasons and SpongeBob SquarePants Holiday Collection were the last SpongeBob DVDs to be released during Stephen Hillenburg's lifetime.
    • The Complete Ninth Season was also the last SpongeBob season DVD to be released during Stephen Hillenburg's lifetime.
      • The SpongeBob Movie Collection (Blu-ray) was the last SpongeBob Blu-ray to be released during Stephen Hillenburg's lifetime.
  • "The Nitwitting" is the first episode to premiere after Stephen Hillenburg's death.
  • SpongeBob Comics No. 85, SpongeBob Freestyle Funnies 2018, and SpongeBob Comics Annual Super-Giant Swimtacular No. 6 were the last SpongeBob comic books to be released during Stephen Hillenburg's lifetime.
  • "Truth or Square" is the last SpongeBob TV movie to premiere during Stephen Hillenburg's lifetime.
  • Nickelodeon Kart Racers was the last SpongeBob video game that is a crossover with other franchises by Nickelodeon to be released during Stephen Hillenburg's lifetime.
  • Nickelodeon Thanksgiving Weekends was the last SpongeBob event to happen during Stephen Hillenburg's lifetime.
  • The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run will be the first entry of the SpongeBob SquarePants film trilogy to be released after Stephen Hillenburg's lifetime so far.
  • Season 13 is the first SpongeBob season to premiere after Stephen Hillenburg's lifetime so far.
  • Super Brawl Universe, Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated and SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-Off are the first SpongeBob video games to be released after Stephen Hillenburg's lifetime.
  • The Great Nickelodeon Slime Rally, Haunted House Hop, Eggcellent Match, Make A Scene - SpongeBob SquarePants and SpongeBob Saves the Day! are the first SpongeBob online games to be released after Stephen Hillenburg's lifetime.
  • Sponge at Heart: How to Live a Bikini Bottom Life, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run: The Junior Novelization, The Great Gary Rescue!, and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run: Official Activity Book are the first SpongeBob movie books to be released after Stephen Hillenburg's lifetime.
  • The Eight-Hour marathon is the first SpongeBob SquarePants Event to be released after Stephen Hillenburg's lifetime.
  • The Third & Fourth Seasons, Movies & TV Collection, The Next 100 Episodes, Big Hits: Volume 2, The Best 200 Episodes Ever, and The Complete Tenth Season are the first SpongeBob DVDs to be released after Stephen Hillenburg's lifetime.
  • "SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout" is the first SpongeBob TV movie to premiere after Stephen Hillenburg's lifetime.
    • Additionally, a thank you message for Stephen Hillenburg appears at the end of "SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout," dedicating the episode to him.
  • According to Everybody's Talking: The Voices Behind SpongeBob SquarePants, Stephen Hillenburg originally practiced voicing Squidward in a 1996 tape recording before Rodger Bumpass was ultimately chosen to do the voice of Squidward.[2]

References

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