FILE - NOVEMBER 27, 2018: American cartoonist Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of "SpongeBob SquarePants" has died at the age of 57 after suffering from ALS. TOKYO, JAPAN - MARCH 23: Stephen Hillenburg, the writer of a U.S. cartoon "The SpongeBob SquarePants" poses with its charactor SpongeBob SquarePants at an event held at Tokyo International Anime Fair on March 23, 2006 in Tokyo, Japan. The film of this popular U.S. Cartoon will open on April 22 in Japan. (Photo by Junko Kimura/Getty Images)
Stephen Hillenburg poses with SpongeBob SquarePants at an event held in Tokyo in 2006. Getty

SpongeBob creator Stephen Hillenburg dies aged 57



Stephen Hillenburg, who created SpongeBob SquarePants and the absurd undersea world he inhabited, has died at age 57, Nickelodeon announced Tuesday.

Hillenburg died on Monday of Lou Gehrig's disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the cable network said in a statement. He announced he had the disease in March 2017.

An Oklahoma native with a love of both drawing and marine biology, Hillenburg conceived, wrote, produced and directed the animated series that began in 1999 and went on to spawn hundreds of episodes, movies and a Broadway show.

“He was a beloved friend and long-time creative partner to everyone at Nickelodeon, and our hearts go out to his entire family,” Nickelodeon’s statement said. “Steve imbued ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ with a unique sense of humour and innocence that has brought joy to generations of kids and families everywhere. His utterly original characters and the world of Bikini Bottom will long stand as a reminder of the value of optimism, friendship and the limitless power of imagination.”

The absurdly jolly SpongeBob, his starfish sidekick Patrick, and a vast cast of oceanic creatures quickly appealed to teens and parents as much as it did to kids.

“The fact that it’s undersea and isolated from our world helps the characters maintain their own culture,” Hillenburg told the Associated Press in 2001. “The essence of the show is that SpongeBob is an innocent in a world of jaded characters. The rest is absurd packaging.”

Born at his father’s army post in Lawton, Oklahoma, Hillenburg graduated from Humboldt State University in California in 1984 with a degree in natural resource planning with an emphasis on marine resources, and went on to teach marine biology at the Orange County Marine Institute.

He shifted to drawing and earned a master of fine arts degree in animation from the California Institute of the Arts in 1992.

That same year he created an animated short called Wormholes that won festival plaudits and helped land him a job on the Nickelodeon show Rocko's Modern Life, where he worked from 1993 to 1996 before he began to build SpongeBob's undersea world of Bikini Bottom, which showed off his knowledge of marine life and willingness to throw all the details out the window.

“We know that fish don’t walk,” he told the AP, “and that there is no organised community with roads, where cars are really boats. And if you know much about sponges, you know that living sponges aren’t square.”

The show was an immediate hit that has lost no momentum in the nearly 20 years since its creation. Its nearly 250 episodes have won four Emmys and 15 Kids Choice Awards, and led to an endless line of merchandise to rival any other pop cultural phenomenon of the 2000s.

In 2004, the show shifted to the big screen with The SpongeBob SquarePants movie and a 2015 sequel, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.

A musical stage adaptation bowed on Broadway in 2017, with music from such stars as Steven Tyler, Sara Bareilles and John Legend. It earned 12 Tony Award nominations, including one for best performance by a leading actor for Ethan Slater.

“I am heartbroken to hear of the passing of Stephen Hillenburg,” Mr Slater said on Tuesday. “Through working on SpongeBob, I got to know him not only as a creative genius, but as a truly generous and kind person. He warmly embraced us on Broadway as the newest members of his wonderful SpongeBob family, and made it so clear from the get-go why he is so beloved: genuine kindness.”

Results

1.30pm Handicap (PA) Dh50,000 (Dirt) 1,400m

Winner Al Suhooj, Saif Al Balushi (jockey), Khalifa Al Neyadi (trainer)

2pm Handicap (TB) 68,000 (D) 1,950m

Winner Miracle Maker, Xavier Ziani, Salem bin Ghadayer

2.30pm Maiden (TB) Dh60,000 (D) 1,600m

Winner Mazagran, Tadhg O’Shea, Satish Seemar

3pm Handicap (TB) Dh84,000 (D) 1,800m

Winner Tailor’s Row, Royston Ffrench, Salem bin Ghadayer

3.30pm Handicap (TB) Dh76,000 (D) 1,400m

Winner Alla Mahlak, Adrie de Vries, Rashed Bouresly

4pm Maiden (TB) Dh60,000 (D) 1,200m

Winner Hurry Up, Royston Ffrench, Salem bin Ghadayer

4.30pm Handicap (TB) Dh68,000 (D) 1,200m

Quick pearls of wisdom

Focus on gratitude: And do so deeply, he says. “Think of one to three things a day that you’re grateful for. It needs to be specific, too, don’t just say ‘air.’ Really think about it. If you’re grateful for, say, what your parents have done for you, that will motivate you to do more for the world.”

Know how to fight: Shetty married his wife, Radhi, three years ago (he met her in a meditation class before he went off and became a monk). He says they’ve had to learn to respect each other’s “fighting styles” – he’s a talk it-out-immediately person, while she needs space to think. “When you’re having an argument, remember, it’s not you against each other. It’s both of you against the problem. When you win, they lose. If you’re on a team you have to win together.” 

The bio

Job: Coder, website designer and chief executive, Trinet solutions

School: Year 8 pupil at Elite English School in Abu Hail, Deira

Role Models: Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk

Dream City: San Francisco

Hometown: Dubai

City of birth: Thiruvilla, Kerala

Formula One top 10 drivers' standings after Japan

1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes 306
2. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari 247
3. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes 234
4. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull 192
5. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari 148
6. Max Verstappen, Red Bull 111
7. Sergio Perez, Force India 82
8. Esteban Ocon, Force India 65
9. Carlos Sainz Jr, Toro Rosso 48
10. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault 34

Results

2.30pm: Expo 2020 Dubai – Conditions (PA) Dh80,000 (Dirt) 1,600m; Winner: Barakka, Ray Dawson (jockey), Ahmad bin Harmash (trainer)

3.05pm: Now Or Never – Maiden (TB) Dh82,500 (Turf) 1,600m; Winner: One Idea, Andrea Atzeni, Doug Watson

3.40pm: This Is Our Time – Handicap (TB) Dh82,500 (D) 1,600m; Winner: Perfect Balance, Tadhg O’Shea, Bhupat Seemar

4.15pm: Visit Expo 2020 – Handicap (TB) Dh87,500 (T) 1,600m; Winner: Kaheall, Richard Mullen, Salem bin Ghadayer

4.50pm: The World In One Place – Handicap (TB) Dh95,000 (T) 1.900m; Winner: Castlebar, Adrie de Vries, Helal Al Alawi

5.25pm: Vision – Handicap (TB) Dh95,000 (D) 1,200m; Winner: Shanty Star, Richard Mullen, Rashed Bouresly

6pm: Al Wasl Plaza – Handicap (TB) Dh95,000 (T) 1,200m; Winner: Jadwal, Dane O’Neill, Doug Watson

Race card

5pm: Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (Turf) 1,600m
5.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,600m
6pm: Arabian Triple Crown Round-1 Listed (PA) Dh230,000 (T) 1,600m
6.30pm: Wathba Stallions Cup Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (T) 1,400m
7pm: Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,200m
7.30pm: Handicap (TB) Dh100,000 (T) 2,400m

GOLF’S RAHMBO

- 5 wins in 22 months as pro
- Three wins in past 10 starts
- 45 pro starts worldwide: 5 wins, 17 top 5s
- Ranked 551th in world on debut, now No 4 (was No 2 earlier this year)
- 5th player in last 30 years to win 3 European Tour and 2 PGA Tour titles before age 24 (Woods, Garcia, McIlroy, Spieth)

Medicus AI

Started: 2016

Founder(s): Dr Baher Al Hakim, Dr Nadine Nehme and Makram Saleh

Based: Vienna, Austria; started in Dubai

Sector: Health Tech

Staff: 119

Funding: €7.7 million (Dh31m)

 

The biog

Family: Parents and four sisters

Education: Bachelor’s degree in business management and marketing at American University of Sharjah

A self-confessed foodie, she enjoys trying out new cuisines, her current favourite is the poke superfood bowls

Likes reading: autobiographies and fiction

Favourite holiday destination: Italy

Posts information about challenges, events, runs in other emirates on the group's Instagram account @Anagowrunning

Has created a database of Emirati and GCC sportspeople on Instagram @abeermk, highlight: Athletes

Apart from training, also talks to women about nutrition, healthy lifestyle, diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure

Sweet Tooth

Creator: Jim Mickle
Starring: Christian Convery, Nonso Anozie, Adeel Akhtar, Stefania LaVie Owen
Rating: 2.5/5

Our legal advisor

Ahmad El Sayed is Senior Associate at Charles Russell Speechlys, a law firm headquartered in London with offices in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Hong Kong.

Experience: Commercial litigator who has assisted clients with overseas judgments before UAE courts. His specialties are cases related to banking, real estate, shareholder disputes, company liquidations and criminal matters as well as employment related litigation. 

Education: Sagesse University, Beirut, Lebanon, in 2005.

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

UAE players with central contracts

Rohan Mustafa, Ashfaq Ahmed, Chirag Suri, Rameez Shahzad, Shaiman Anwar, Adnan Mufti, Mohammed Usman, Ghulam Shabbir, Ahmed Raza, Qadeer Ahmed, Amir Hayat, Mohammed Naveed and Imran Haider.

Racecard

5pm: Al Maha Stables – Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (Turf) 1,400m
5.30pm: Al Anoud Stables – Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,200m
6pm: Wathba Stallions Cup – Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (T) 1,400m
6.30pm: Arabian Triple Crown Round 2 – Group 3 (PA) Dh 300,000 (T) 2,200m
7pm: Liwa Oasis – Group 2 (PA) Dh300,000 (T) 1,400m
7.30pm: Dames Stables – Handicap (TB) Dh80,000 (T) 1,400m

At Everton Appearances: 77; Goals: 17

At Manchester United Appearances: 559; Goals: 253

OIL PLEDGE

At the start of Russia's invasion, IEA member countries held 1.5 billion barrels in public reserves and about 575 million barrels under obligations with industry, according to the agency's website. The two collective actions of the IEA this year of 62.7 million barrels, which was agreed on March 1, and this week's 120 million barrels amount to 9 per cent of total emergency reserves, it added.

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

Specs

Power train: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and synchronous electric motor
Max power: 800hp
Max torque: 950Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed auto
Battery: 25.7kWh lithium-ion
0-100km/h: 3.4sec
0-200km/h: 11.4sec
Top speed: 312km/h
Max electric-only range: 60km (claimed)
On sale: Q3
Price: From Dh1.2m (estimate)

The biog

Name: Salem Alkarbi

Age: 32

Favourite Al Wasl player: Alexandre Oliveira

First started supporting Al Wasl: 7

Biggest rival: Al Nasr

What is graphene?

Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms arranged like honeycomb.

It was discovered in 2004, when Russian-born Manchester scientists Andrei Geim and Kostya Novoselov were "playing about" with sticky tape and graphite - the material used as "lead" in pencils.

Placing the tape on the graphite and peeling it, they managed to rip off thin flakes of carbon. In the beginning they got flakes consisting of many layers of graphene. But as they repeated the process many times, the flakes got thinner.

By separating the graphite fragments repeatedly, they managed to create flakes that were just one atom thick. Their experiment had led to graphene being isolated for the very first time.

At the time, many believed it was impossible for such thin crystalline materials to be stable. But examined under a microscope, the material remained stable, and when tested was found to have incredible properties.

It is many times times stronger than steel, yet incredibly lightweight and flexible. It is electrically and thermally conductive but also transparent. The world's first 2D material, it is one million times thinner than the diameter of a single human hair.

But the 'sticky tape' method would not work on an industrial scale. Since then, scientists have been working on manufacturing graphene, to make use of its incredible properties.

In 2010, Geim and Novoselov were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics. Their discovery meant physicists could study a new class of two-dimensional materials with unique properties. 

 

Bawaal

Director: Nitesh Tiwari

Stars: Varun Dhawan, Janhvi Kapoor

Rating: 1/5

While you're here
WITHIN SAND

Director: Moe Alatawi

Starring: Ra’ed Alshammari, Adwa Fahd, Muhand Alsaleh

Rating: 3/5


View from DC

The inside scoop from The National’s Washington bureau

      By signing up, I agree to The National's privacy policy
      View from DC