You know Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus, and Mariah Carey as classic Christmas staples. But do you recall the most famous Christmas mascot of all?
Those who celebrate Christmas will certainly recall the tale of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The time-honored Christmas song first came about in 1939 from songwriter Johnny Marks, who based it on a children's book by Robert L. May. Since its debut, the song has been adapted into several Christmas tales, few more memorable than the 1964 claymation special.
The TV special first aired on NBC. Nearly 60 years later, it is widely recognized as a classic and definitive version of the story with annual airings on CBS and several parodies throughout the years.
This version of Rudolph retains the classic story of a reindeer with a glowing nose overcoming prejudice to save Christmas and features a whole host of characters brought to life by notable actors. Get to know the voices behind the 1964 claymation film Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Voice of Rudolph in 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer'
The titular character is voiced by Billie Mae Richards. According to her IMDb profile, this film marks her very first acting credit. She would go on to have several more notable roles in productions like the 1960s Spider-Man cartoon and several Care Bears adaptations. She also reprised her role as Rudolph in 1976's Rudolph's Shiny New Year and 1979's Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July.
Her last acting credit came in 2008 in the British cartoon Charlie and Lola. She passed away in 2010.
Voice of Sam the Snowman in 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer'
As the jolly narrator and an original character for the special, Sam the Snowman is voiced by Burl Ives. While having had a celebrated musical career in the late 40s and 50s, Burl is well-remembered for his Christmas music. He also worked on the film's soundtrack and wrote the song "A Holly Jolly Christmas" specifically for the film. That song has since transcended the popularity of the movie and continues to be played today during the Holiday Season.
Voice of Yukon Cornelius in 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer'
Yukon Cornelius is another character original to the film. He's portrayed by Larry D. Mann, a Canadian actor. Throughout his career, Larry made several appearances on classic sitcoms like Get Smart, Bewitched, and Hogan's Heroes, just to name a few. He is also known for his role as "The Boss," a character from a series of commercials for a Canadian telecommunications company.
Voice of Hermey in 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer'
Hermey the reluctant toy-making elf is portrayed by Paul Soles. Paul is perhaps best known for voicing the titular character in the classic 1967 Spider-Man cartoon. He even had an appearance in the 2008 MCU film The Incredible Hulk. His final film role was in 2016 in the Canadian film The Second Time Around.
Voice of Santa Claus in 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer'
No Christmas fantasy story would be complete without an appearance from Santa Claus. In the Rudolph special, Santa is voiced by Stan Francis.
His role in Rudolph was his second-to-last acting credit before he passed away in 1966.