Billie Mae Dinsmore Richards (Billie Richards)

Billie Mae Dinsmore Richards

Actress. Known primarily for voice characterizations, she shall be remembered as the title lead in the 1964 television special “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. Raised in Toronto, she was dancing by age two and at five was appearing in a revue titled “The Merry Makers”. During World War II she joined the Royal Canadian Navy and found herself assigned to entertaining the troops; after the conflict, she had roles in several radio series where her ability to sound like a young boy proved valuable (she was even sometimes billed as “Billy Richards”), the most noted being the Kid in “Jake and the Kid” which was broadcast thru the 1950s. In 1964, the producers of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” used Canadian performers as radio drama was still going strong north of the border and voice talent was easier to find; Richards was always proud of her part in a classic, though she did resent only receiving residuals for three years. Later she was to be Tenderheart Bear in the early Care Bears films, and to have parts in “The Smokey Bear Show”, “The King Kong Show”, “Spider Man”, and other series. Richards was seen on camera a few times, her credits including “Pennies from Heaven” (1981) and 1998’s “Bram Stoker’s Shadow Builder”. She was to reprise Rudolph twice, in “Rudolph’s Shiny New Year (1976) and the 1979 “Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July”. In later years, Richards retired to Totonto. She died of a stroke. Of her signature role, she said: “What better legacy can you leave than a show that everybody loves?”. (bio by: Bob Hufford)

Born

  • November, 21, 1921
  • Canada

Died

  • September, 09, 2010
  • Canada

Other

  • Cremated

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