Michael B. Sanderson, dancer and animated anthropomorphic banana GIF best known for his starring turn in the legendary “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” flash animation, died suddenly in his home in Brainerd, MN. He was 27.
Longtime friend and Albino BlackSheep user ‘SticksxStones’ confirmed Sanderson’s death on social media. While the cause of death is still under investigation, sources have reported that it was the result of being accidentally deleted from a hard drive.
His career began as an emoticon in the early 2000s, dancing in chain emails and AOL chat rooms. In 2004 he was tapped to star in the flash animation of the Buckwheat Boyz song “Peanut Butter Jelly Time”, famously beating out Charlie the Unicorn and a glittery Myspace Bratz doll avatar. The video was regarded as an instant classic and to this date has been viewed more than 48 million times.
He was able to ride this success of PBJT through the 2000’s despite working less, with guest starring roles in multiple cartoons and video games. He struggled to find work after many web pages began switching from Flash to HTML5, though spent the last five years as a supporter and local ambassador for UNICEF.
Sanderson is survived by his wife, the 3D dancing baby from Ally McBeal.