Billie Mae Richards, Voice Of “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” Dies

Flags are flying half-staff all over the North Pole as we receive the news that the woman who gave a voice to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has died, after suffering a stroke at her home in Canada. She was 88.

Voiceover actress Billie Mae Richards succumbed to a stroke at her home in Canada this week. She was 88.

A fixture on the Canadian airwaves for decades, Richards voiced the popular Burl Ives-narrated holiday special in the early 1960s, helping turn Rudolph into a Christmas tradition for millions of Americans.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, based on the eponymous 1949 song, premiered in 1964 and to this day, CBS continues to broadcast it around the holidays. Richards landed the part thanks to her ability to speak like a young boy and credited as Billy Richards in the show.

“What better legacy can you leave than a show that everybody loves?” Richards told NPR in 2004.

Richards, a grandmother of 12, also voiced Rudolph in a pair of sequels Rudolph’s Shiny New Year and Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July. She was Tender Heart Bear in the The Care Bears Movie.

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