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The Devastating Death Of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Producer Jules Bass

American filmmaker Jules Bass, who found success as a film producer, director, author, and composer, has passed away at the age of 87. According to Variety, the producer of beloved 1960s animated holiday classics "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the Snowman" died at an assisted living care center in the town of Rye, New York. No further details were provided as to Bass's cause of death or his general state of health immediately preceding his demise. The director was one-half of the influential animation team Rankin/Bass, which included his longtime collaborator Arthur Rankin who died in 2014.

Jules Bass was born in Philadelphia, PA on September 16, 1935, and would go on to attend New York University (via TCM). Before trying his hand at filmmaking, he worked at an advertising company and found work as a composer in the 1960s. Once he met Rankin later that decade, the duo would go on to enjoy a long and prosperous career in short and feature film animation both for television and cinema. Although "Rudolph" and "Frosty the Snowman" are two of his most recognizable screen credits, Bass along with Rankin would create other classics in the 1970s and 1980s.

Frosty the Snowman and The Last Unicorn are among the producer's additional credits

According to IMDb, the creative team of Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass first found success with the 1960 animated series "The New Adventures of Pinocchio." After the runaway popularity of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" in 1964, the team released an animated version of "King Kong" in 1966, followed by a cartoon version of "The Little Drummer Boy," "Frosty the Snowman," and "The Smokey Bear Show" by the end of that decade. Bass, along with Rankin, would go on to direct and produce animated adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" and "The Return of the King" in 1977 and 1980, respectively.

Feature-length movie success would come with the release of "The Last Unicorn" in 1982, which Bass co-produced and directed with his longtime collaborator. In an interview with The Television Academy Foundation, Rankin was asked how his partnership with Bass came about and replied, "A partnership comes from two people who support each other and complement each other. After a while, we were never seen together because Bass was doing something and I was doing something. I'd be looking at doing production in Tokyo and he'd be recording a soundtrack in New York..." He concluded by stating how the pair had a working relationship that was defined by logistics and navigating different meetings.

Bass was preceded in death by his daughter Jean Nicole Bass who passed away in January 2022.