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Animator Arthur Rankin Jr., who was one half of Rankin Bass, died at the age of 89 while at his Bermuda home on Thursday.
Rankin had been battling an illness before his death, according to the Royal Gazette, which first reported on his passing. He is survived by his wife, Olga, and two sons, Todd and Gardner.
Rankin and his partner Jules Bass were well-known for their stop-motion animated specials, included the beloved Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Frosty the Snowman and others. Rankin told The Mid-Ocean News in 1996, "Christmas has been good to me."
Rankin started his career in television as an art director at ABC in the 1940s. "These were days when no one knew anything about television."
In the 1960s he teamed up with Bass and they began their work on the stop-motion animated movies. Rankin often was able to convince well-known actors or actresses to voice characters in his movies, big names like Fred Astaire, James Cagney, Boris Karloff, Mia Farrow and others.
Larry D. Mann, who had provided his voice for the character of Yukon Cornelius for Rudolph, passed away in early January.
Deadline notes that Rankin's Rudolph continues to be a popular holiday special staple. It managed to beat out singing competition The Voice and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the 18-49 demo during its annual airing last holiday season.