“Sally is the complete pragmatist. There is a certain charm when she fractures the language: ‘By golly, if any centimeters come in this room, I’ll step on them!”
—Charles M. Schulz on Sally Brown
Sally Brown is a major female character in the comic strip Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz. Sally was introduced to the strip in 1959 and her final appearance was February 6, 2000, right before the farewell strip which appeared the next Sunday. She is the younger sister of Charlie Brown and also the youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Brown's two children.
Since her older brother is the protagonist of the strip and she starts out as a baby, we initially view her through his eyes: she's a kid who needs protecting and guidance, who is too rambunctious, and who is undependable. As she grows into her own, Sally becomes a kind girl who is creative and sentimental. She shares some of her brother's worst tendencies to procrastinate but is more cheerful than he is. She is somewhat aimless but enjoys being a kid and tries to avoid the minimal responsibilities that entail. She's the classic little sister who is too immature for her eight-year-old sibling but she has a highly developed sense of what's just and cares deeply for her loved ones—particularly her perpetual crush, Linus van Pelt.
Sally has flipped blonde hair with a cluster of curls. In the early sixties and in her early television appearances, she is shown to have a bow in her curls. However, this was dropped in both the strip and the specials by 1969, possibly so it would be easier to draw or animate. She wears a polka dot dress with a small bow in the back. Her dress is colored light blue in all thirty-seven TV specials, the TV series The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show and This Is America, Charlie Brown and the movies A Boy Named Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Come Home, Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown and Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don't Come Back!!). Her dress is, however, usually colored pink in the Sunday strips and appears in that color in The Peanuts Movie and the 2014 French TV series Peanuts. In the winter, and most of the time in the later years of the strips, Sally wears a (no sleeves or long sleeves) shirt and pants. Her outside winter outfit is a jacket to match with her dress (although she is sometimes seen wearing a hat). It is also revealed in the November 13, 1976 comic strip that Sally wears a retainer, meaning she possibly has dental trouble. For swimming and going to the beach, Sally wears a bikini swimsuit. For bedtime and nighttime, Sally wears a nightgown.
Sally is the complex younger sister of Charlie Brown. On one hand, she is good-hearted, funny, friendly, cute, sweet, silly and innocent. However, on the other, she can be lazy, ignorant, naive, slow, obsessive, dumb, greedy, insecure, and sometimes even self-centered and manipulative.
Sally has a "take it easy" approach to life, preferring to slide by while doing as little work as possible. Her favorite pastime is sitting in her beanbag chair watching TV. In a series of strips from June 1982, Sally even goes to "beanbag camp" for the summer, which consists of nothing but lazing around in beanbags, eating snack foods and watching TV. Sally gets fat as a result and needs to exercise when she comes back from camp in order to lose weight.
Like her older brother, Sally has a good heart and a strong moral sense. She is extremely sensitive to the unfairness of life. Charlie Brown usually goes to Lucy in her psychiatric booth when he is feeling depressed, but Sally prefers to confide her troubles to the school building, which is very protective of her and will drop a brick on anyone who does not treat her nicely.
Sally has a lot of trouble in school. For one thing, she has a problem with malapropisms, both in speech and writing. For example, she says "violins broke out" rather than "violence broke out," or "controversial French" instead of "conversational French". One of the strip's running jokes is the unintentionally humorous school reports she gives at the front of the class, which are frequently inspired by malapropisms and end with her feeling humiliated as all of her classmates laugh at her. Some of the more memorable reports she has given over the years include "Santa and His Rain Gear," "Footbidextrousers" people, "The Bronchitis" (a dinosaur which supposedly became extinct from coughing too much), and her report on the oceans of the world, in which she reports that there are no oceans in individual landlocked states in the U.S. She often struggles with homework despite Charlie Brown's patient efforts to help her, and she has a particular dislike for math, which she largely finds both intimidating and incomprehensible. However, she has expressed interest in becoming a nurse once she becomes an adult, although this is due to her interest in wearing white shoes, as opposed to the job itself.
Sally also can be very ignorant. In one strip, she thinks her family is famous because their name appears in the telephone book. Another time, she is watching TV and wondered why Monday Night Football is not on. When Charlie Brown tells her the day is Wednesday, she says "That's no excuse".
Sally has wanted Charlie Brown's bedroom for years. Every time he either leaves home for a while (such as going to summer camp) or talks about leaving, the first thing she always wants to know is if she can have his room while he is gone. A few times, she has actually begun to move her possessions into her brother's room when she thinks he is never coming home, as in one incident from May 1976 when Charlie Brown floats away on his pitcher's mound after a heavy rain (when Charlie Brown does come back, Sally tells him that she supposes that he wants his room back) when he fails to come after falling ill during a baseball game in the strip from July 10, 1979, (Sally writes a get well card to Charlie Brown telling him she moved into his room and then she sold all of his stuff) when he gets lost in the woods in a series of strips from November 1980 (when Charlie Brown returns, Sally says it will take a little while to put all her stuff back) and when Snoopy accidentally turns him invisible in the TV special It's Magic, Charlie Brown).
Unlike most of the Peanuts gang, Sally does not seem to have much interest in playing sports. On the rare occasions when she does play, it is usually because Linus invites her. She is one of the few children in the neighborhood who has never played on Charlie Brown's baseball team, and her attempts to play catch with a football usually lead to comic results. She joins a "snow league", in a series of strips from November and December 1973 in which the local adults turn snowman building into an organized sport, but her team is not very good. They lose one match when the referee penalizes them for "improper mittens", and lose another because their snowman is offside.
Being Charlie Brown's little sister, she refers to him as "big brother", having called him by his full name only on very rare occasions.
Sally was born on May 26, 1959, with Charlie Brown receiving a telephone call from the hospital and dashing out of the house yelling that he had a new baby sister. She was given the name "Sally" six weeks later, on June 2, 1959. Although much talked about, and the cause for a celebration that included Charlie Brown passing out chocolate cigars, it was not until August 23, 1959, that she finally made her first appearance.
As a baby, Sally liked playing with empty baby bottles, which she used for everything from building blocks to bowling pins and being taken out for walks. The latter caused poor Charlie Brown no small amount of frustration when he had to miss an important baseball game to walk her around the neighborhood in her stroller. He ended up leaving her to return to the game due to the pleading of his team, and, in typical (and physics defiant) Charlie Brown fashion, quickly lost the game, incurring the wrath of both his mother and his teammates.
Like other characters, such as Lucy, Linus, and Schroeder who were also introduced to the strip as babies, Sally grew up quickly. On August 22, 1960, she took her first steps, and in the next day's strip, she fell in love with Linus for the first time. Her first day of kindergarten came on September 5, 1962. Although the first glimpse of her new school made her run away screaming, she had a wonderful day once she got there. Unfortunately, her lack of aptitude for formal education quickly became apparent, as she nervously admitted in a later strip that she was sure they had made her go through kindergarten again because she had failed flower-bringing. Nevertheless, she did eventually complete kindergarten and settled in at about first or second grade age for the remainder of the strip's run. This makes her older than kindergartners like Rerun van Pelt or Larry.
Interestingly, it was originally Linus who expressed a possible romantic interest in Sally. In a strip appearing shortly after Sally's birth, Linus is seen scribbling calculations on a fence. when Charlie Brown wanders by, Linus asks him, "When I'm 22 and Sally is 17, do you think she'll go out with me?" When Schulz revived the joke more than a year later, though, it was Sally who fell for Linus rather than the other way around.
In a storyline which began on November 29, 1965, Sally was diagnosed with amblyopia ex-anopsia (lazy eye) which required her to wear an eye patch for a while. Her eye patch often went missing because Snoopy took it to play pirates. Sally gave Snoopy the eye patch after her ophthalmologist told her that she did not need to wear it anymore. Some of the strips in which Sally was diagnosed with lazy eye were later reprinted in a comic book, Security Is an Eye Patch, which was published and distributed for free by the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
Sally was the first character to befriend Eudora, arguably the last major character to be introduced to the strip. Sally first met her during a trip to summer camp in 1978. She became a pupil in Sally's class later that year and was Sally's closest friend for most of her run in Peanuts.
In the later years of the strip, Sally started developing "philosophies" on life. They were not the most well thought out philosophies, basically being phrases such as, "Who cares?", "Why me?", and "How should I know?"
See main article: Charlie Brown and Sally Brown's relationship
Being Charlie Brown's little sister, she refers to him as "big brother", having called him by his full name only on very rare occasions (and usually only in her early years in the strip). Charlie Brown doted on her in the beginning and was usually very patient with her. Yet Sally has never developed proper respect for her big brother and invariably ends up disappointed in him when he fails to protect her from being teased, torments, harassed, or threatened by bullies. However, Sally constantly relies on Charlie Brown to help her with her homework, which usually results in his doing her assignments for her.
For his part, Charlie Brown is often frustrated by Sally's laziness and her reluctance to do the right thing when she finds herself in a difficult situation. His attempts to lecture Sally usually either go over her head or simply fall on deaf ears. However, Charlie Brown still always helps her, when it comes to her homework, or bullies, even though Sally rarely appreciates what he does for her.
Sally often annoys Charlie Brown and regularly complains to him. She obviously thinks that Charlie Brown has a better bedroom than she does because she often tries to take it over from him.
However, deep down Sally loves her big brother.
Like Lucy, Sally does not care that much for Snoopy and often calls him a stupid beagle. Sally usually complains when her big brother asks her to feed Snoopy whenever he is away from home.When she was still an infant, Sally had a friendly and playful relationship with Snoopy. In one comic strip, dated August 30, 1959, Snoopy is shown happily playing with Sally, then stating that he liked playing with her and felt that they had something in common because "She's the only one around here who knows how to walk on four feet." Snoopy was so fond of Sally that he once reluctantly declined to eat his dinner because Sally was asleep on his back. During this time period, Snoopy and Sally were also seen teaming up to snatch away Linus' blanket.
In later years, Sally occasionally enlists Snoopy's help in school assignments - she even treated him to an ice cream cone (a very tall ice cream cone, with scoops of about a dozen flavors) when Snoopy helped her get an "A" on a report about "Our Animal Friends." Sally also once used Snoopy as a "weapon" to help protect her from bullies on the playground (Snoopy would bark loudly at anyone who threatened Sally, leading Snoopy to comment, "I feel like a can of mace!"), but this ended in disaster when Snoopy saw an old girlfriend of his and ran off to meet her, abandoning Sally and leaving her to get "slaughtered" by the playground bullies.
See main article: Sally and Linus' relationshipSally has a strong crush on Charlie Brown's friend Linus. She calls him her "Sweet Babboo" and when Linus says something Sally finds especially witty or intelligent, she expresses her admiration by asking, "Isn't he the cutest thing?" Her crush is a frequent source of embarrassment to Linus, but he endures it stoically for the most part, although he is sometimes driven to yell in exasperation, "I'm not your sweet baboo!".
Sally's affection towards Linus is most likely because as a toddler, Linus gave her short lessons and took her for walks. Her admiration of his smarts and jokes made as a toddler led to her having a love for Linus when she became a fully developed character.
As Schroeder does with Lucy, Linus often attempts to fend Sally off with a sarcastic remark. No matter how vigorously he protests, though, her devotion remains unwavering. Although in one of the animated episodes, she treats Linus with an air of indifference, which resulted in him growing jealous, much to her enjoyment.
Sally is notoriously defensive of Linus. She is instantly jealous of and hostile toward any other girl who shows any sort of affection toward him.
Sally was the first character Eudora met on the bus to summer camp. She later appeared in Sally's class that fall and the two quickly befriended each other. But Sally does get angry at her at times, for example when Eudora shows feelings towards Sally's crush, Linus. Eudora is one of the few characters more ditzy than Sally, sometimes leading her to be confused or put out by her friend's odd behavior.
Sally Brown is seen being best friends with Lucy van Pelt, despite Lucy playing tricks and being mean to Sally. At one point, Sally hires Lucy to protect her from bullies at the playground when Charlie Brown fails to stop them. At another point, they both try to get Rerun out of the sandbox so that they can play in it. Lucy at one point teaches Sally how to jump rope.
Kathy Steinberg was the first to voice Sally Brown in A Charlie Brown Christmas in 1965. Various actresses have voiced her since. Linda Jenner voiced her from It's a Mystery, Charlie Brown (1974) to Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown (1975). In It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown (1984), Snoopy's Getting Married, Charlie Brown (1984), and the 1984 season of The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show, Sally was voiced by Stacy Ferguson, better known as Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas. In It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown (1992), Sally was voiced by Jodie Sweetin (Stephanie Tanner on Full House and Fuller House).
Other voice actresses who have played Sally include:
- Erik Sullivan (1969)
- Hillary Momberger (1971–1973)
- Lynn Mortesen (1974–1975)
- Gail Davis (1975–1977)
- Annalisa Bortolin (1980)
- Cindi Reilly (1981–1983)
- Stacy Heather Tolkin (1983)
- Tiffany Reinbolt (1985)
- Elizabeth Lyn Fraser (1986)
- Ami Foster (1988)
- Christina Lange (1988)
- Brittany Thornton (1988–1989)
- Adrienne Stiefel (1990)
- Kaitlyn Walker (1991)
- Mindy Ann Martin (1992)
- Jodie Sweetin (1992)
- Danielle Keaton (1997)
- Ashley Edner (2000)
- Nicolette Little (2002)
- Megan Taylor Harvey (2002–2003)
- Hanna Leigh Dworkin (2003)
- Sierra Marcoux (2006)
- Claire Corlett (2008)
- Amanda Pace (2011)
- Mariel Sheets (2015)
- Emma Yarovinsky (2016)
- Taylor Autumn Bertman (2016)
- Hattie Kragten (2019)
Kristin Chenoweth played Sally in the Broadway revival of the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, winning the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress. The character of Sally had not been in the original production of the musical—in the revival, Sally replaced Patty who had long since disappeared from the comic strip.
- Sally is one of the many Peanut characters to appear in the video game Snoopy's Street Fair, in which, she owns a lemonade stand.
- Sally was the fourth baby to be seen in the strip, behind Schroeder, Lucy van Pelt, and Linus van Pelt. She is in front of Rerun van Pelt.