When he speaks about his career in animation, a smile swipes across his face leaving you to believe that there is nothing better. Lichleiter likens a career in animation as being very nomadic; starting with one job and as it ended hearing of another opportunity; packing up your 2B Tombow pencils and heading off to the next opportunity to hone your craft.
Lichleiter’s nomadic journey began at Hanna-Barbera at the end of what's been called the "Golden Age" where he worked on Scooby Doo. The mechanics of the animation were simplistic, leaving him and his peers to be dubbed, “H & B” (hold & blink.) One opportunity he readily recognized was the exposure to the talent that was in the building. Working alongside many great artists including Iwao Takemoto and Wiley Ito, was not to be taken lightly.
After his stint with HB, Lichleiter worked with Ralph Bakshi. At Bakshi’s he was assigned to assist Irv Spence, who he knew to be responsible for much of the fluid animation of MGM's “Tom and Jerry” cartoons. Like most great cartoonists, Irv liked to talk with a pencil in his hand, sketching what he was talking about; it was better than reading the paper. Together, they worked on two films, Coonskin and Hey Good Lookin’ before the job ended and his nomadic life resumed.
As that door closed, another opened at Bill Melendez’s studio, which seemed a world away from Bakshi's. There were still plenty of wonderfully idiosyncratic people, like Al Pabian and Bernie Gruver, but the pace was more reasonable. The first show Lichleiter worked on was the 1974 Charlie Brown Valentine’s Day special.
Soon thereafter they all got laid off and his peripatetic life led him to pursue some personal passions one of which was cycling. Buying a bike, he looked up as many relatives as possible and started on a cross country bike trip. Three months later, he was looking for work again and landed back with his old friend Al Pabian at Bill's place. It was like coming home.
At Bill Melendez Productions, he has directed and/or co-directed Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales, Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown; He’s a Bully, Charlie Brown, I Want a Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown, plus numerous commercials. Currently, Lichleiter is co-directing The Mighty B with Erick Wiese at Nickelodeon. The artist resides in the Los Angeles area with his wife, Cathy, and in their free time they pursue scuba diving, kayaking and hiking.