Why Famous: Hillenburg turned his passion for marine biology into one of the most successful and acclaimed cartoons in history, SpongeBob SquarePants, which is the fifth-longest running animated series in American history.
He originally created the concept of a cartoon of tide-pool animals while teaching at the Orange County Marine Institute. He later became an animator, worked on Rocko's Modern Life (1993-1996) and then created SpongeBob.
He was diagnosed with ALS syndrome in 2017 and died due to complications of the illness on November 26, 2018.
- 1999-05-01 Animated series "SpongeBob SquarePants", created by Stephen Hillenburg, debuts on Nickelodeon