SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - The former child actor who was the voice of Charlie Brown in the 1960s “Peanuts” animated television specials was sentenced to a year in jail on Wednesday and immediately ordered to a residential drug treatment center by a California judge who told him: “Don’t be a blockhead.”
Peter Robbins, 56, who choked up while reading a letter of apology to the court, had pleaded guilty last month to two felony counts of stalking and making criminal threats against his girlfriend, Shawna Kern, and a plastic surgeon who had performed her breast implant surgery.
Although he was sentenced to a year in jail, he was given credit for time served and ordered to spend the next eight months in a drug treatment facility. He will then serve five years of probation.
“I realize this is the first step towards becoming the fun-loving, respectful person I was and hope to be again,” Robbins said in his apology. “I love Shawna and wish her my best.”
Robbins was 9 years old in 1965 when he became the voice of the world-weary yet optimistic title character of “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” a holiday classic and the first of many animated TV specials based on the popular “Peanuts” comic strip by Charles Schulz.
The actor went on to voice Charlie Brown in “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” “You’re In Love, Charlie Brown” and “A Boy Named Charlie Brown,” which aired in the 1960s. He was replaced in later versions of the animated specials.
Charlie Brown was often called a blockhead by some of the other characters on the show.
Robbins was arrested in January after a series of telephone and in-person threats to the two women, Kern and Dr Lori Saltz.
Judge Dwayne Moring of San Diego Superior Court agreed that Robbins be immediately sent to residential drug treatment from the county jail, where he has been held in lieu of $550,000 bail since January.
Robbins’ judgment had been affected by alcohol and prescription drug addiction at the time of the crime, according to the probation report.
Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Beech