Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Billie Mae Richards

Some tragic news came across my desk that I felt I must share with the world.

Back on Friday, Billie Mae Richards passed away.

Richards was a highly acclaimed Canadian actress and singer.  She was, however, best known for her work as a voice actress.  She started as a voice actress in the CBC radio drama department, where her specialty was voicing children.  Back in the 1960s, when she got her start, the CBC radio drama department was regarded as being the best group of voice actors in North America, and she got to do a lot of cartoon voices.  She did many voices on the original 1960s Spider-Man cartoon and Rocket Robin Hood.  In the 1980s, she did the voice of several Care Bears characters...most notably Tenderheart Bear in the first two movies, and Brightheart Racoon in the subsequent TV series.  In fact, according to the IMDB, her last credited role was reprising the voice of Brightheart Racoon for a direct-to-DVD Care Bears movie about five years ago.

But perhaps her most famous role is the one we hear every Christmas.

That's right, she was the voice of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  Apparently, she could do Rudolph's voice right up until her dying days.  When her great-grandkids friends didn't believe that she was Rudolph, she would do the voice, and the kids would be gobsmacked. 

She was 88 years old. 

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