...at m_turner's request...

A character mentioned but never seen in the "Peanuts" comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. She was admired from afar by Charlie Brown, who was never able to get up enough courage to actually talk to her. Heck, he could barely bring himself to put Valentines in her mailbox. She was never actually given a name either; everyone just called her "the little red-haired girl."

The little red-haired girl did show up in one of the "Peanuts" TV specials. In 1977's "It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown", she appeared, she was very pretty, and her name was Heather. However, Charles Schulz didn't make any of the decisions about her appearance or name -- those were decided upon by the show's animators. And since she never appeared in the strip, her appearance is not considered canon (if you can even have anything considered canon in a daily comic strip).

The little red haired girl was Schulz' most enduring symbol of unrequited love, even more so than Sally's unreturned love for Linus or Lucy's infatuation with Schroeder. Unlike those others, though, the little red-haired girl's primary importance is not as a character but as a plot element. After all, we know almost nothing about her, beyond the fact that Charlie Brown loves her. (And god knows, good ol' Charlie Brown should've been chasing after Peppermint Patty or Marcie -- they actually loved him, if only that blockhead had been paying attention) The only reason the little red-haired girl is important to us is because we've all had someone like her in our lives -- maybe not a redhead, maybe not a girl, but someone who we've loved with all the childhood innocence we could muster up but who we could never actually have, someone who we gave anonymous Valentines and Christmas presents to, someone who we pined over, someone who we daydreamed about, someone who we know will break Charlie's heart without ever actually realizing she's done anything wrong. The little red-haired girl is important to us because we all know how Charlie Brown feels for her -- and because without one little red-haired girl, we might never have had a comic strip called "Peanuts" in the first place...

In 1947, before he started drawing his famous strip, Sparky Schulz met Donna Mae Johnson while he was working as an art instructor. She was a pretty redhead in the school's accounting department who often wore a pale shirt with a black zigzag around the middle. Sparky fell head-over-heels in love with her. They dated, but she ended up turning down his marriage proposal to marry another man. Sparky was devastated and haunted by the event for years afterwards. Years later, Donna (now Donna Wold) immediately recognized herself as the little red-haired girl when Charlie Brown started pining for her in the strip.