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Billie Mae Richards
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Voice Actress
    (1921-September 10, 2010)
    Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Birth name was Billie Mae Dinsmore
    Provided the voice of Rudolph in the Rankin-Bass special 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' (1964) and its sequels and Tenderheart Bear in the Care Bears tv series and movies
    Appeared in the films 'Pennies from Heaven' (1981) and 'Bram Stoker's Shadow Builder' (1988)
    She was taking acting, singing and dancing lessons at age two, noting 'I was Toronto's version of Shirley Temple.'
    She specialized in providing the voices of boys in radio programs, and was billed by the Canadian Broadcasting Company (and later Rankin-Bass) as 'Billy Richards' to obscure her gender.
    In the horror film 'Bram Stoker's Shadow Builder,' she takes an axe to the head from Paul Soles, who had voiced Hermey the Elf in 'Rudolph.'
    She entertained Canadian troops during WWII as part of the 'Meet the Navy' show.
    She, and the rest of the voice cast other than Burl Ives, got paid residuals from 'Rudolph' for only three years, despite the show becoming a holiday staple for four decades and counting.
    She said of Rudolph's enduring popularity, 'What better legacy can you leave than a show that everybody loves?'

Credit: C. Fishel

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