Jules Bass, Producer, and Director of Iconic Holiday Television Specials, Has Died at the Age of 87!

Bass was well-known for his contributions to holiday stop-motion and animated shows such as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman.”

Jules Bass, the producer and director of the classic holiday TV specials “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman,” died Tuesday at the age of 87, according to his publicist Jennifer Fisherman-Ruff. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Bass, an animator, and composer were best known for co-creating stop-motion and animated TV shows with his partner and ABC art director Arthur Rankin Jr. in the 1960s and 1970s. The two created hit holiday programs starring Mickey Rooney, Fred Astaire, and Burl Ives through their company Rankin/Bass Animated Entertainment f.k.a. Rankin/Bass Productions, Inc.

In 1960, the couple’s first production, a TV series titled “The New Adventures of Pinocchio,” was released. They also produced “The Hobbit” and “The Return of the King” adaptations, “The King Kong Show,” and the original series “ThunderCats.”

However, some of their most famous projects became holiday classics, including:

  • “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
  • “Snowman Frosty”
  • “The Year Without a Santa Claus”
  • “Rudolph’s Shiny New Year”
  • “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town”

These TV shows were frequently based on Christmas songs and featured cel animation that created the illusion of snow falling on scenes.

Rudolph And The Rankin-Bass Holiday Empire

Their work on “The Hobbit” earned them a Peabody Award and an Emmy nomination for their 1976 sequel to “The Little Drummer Boy.”

In a 2004 interview, Rankin said, “We sort of complimented each other.” “He possessed talents that I lacked, and I possessed talents that he lacked.” I was primarily an artist and a creator, whereas he was a creator, writer, and lyricist.”

Rankin passed away in 2014, at the age of 89.

Bass, who was born in Philadelphia, attended New York University and worked in advertising before joining forces with Rankin.

His producing and directing career came to an end in 1987. His inventiveness, however, extended into the world of literature.

Bass wrote a number of children’s books featuring Herb, the Vegetarian Dragon. And the 2011 film “Monte Carlo,” starring Selena Gomez, was loosely based on his novel Headhunters, which follows two Texas women on a trip to Europe in search of husbands.

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