Arthur Rankin Jr. passed away today at 89. He was the man who defined Christmas for millions. Certainly for me. His stop motion animated Christmas specials like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer are a favorite of ours every year. He is credited on over 1,000 television programs.
Bumbles don't bounce..
Mr Rankin along with Jules Bass, produced and directed 'The Hobbit (1977)(TV)' and 'The Return of the King (1980)(TV)', both of which were later remade as live-action films by Peter Jackson. Both films also feature some casting similarities.
Rankin died after a brief illness on January 30, 2014, aged 89, in his home in Bermuda. He is survived by Olga and his sons Gardner and Todd. Referring to him as an "animation legend", the Hollywood Reporter noted that during his career, Rankin worked with actors such as Jeff Bridges, Mia Farrow, Angela Lansbury, Alan Arkin, Danny Kaye, James Cagney, Fred Astaire, Boris Karloff, Tallulah Bankhead, George Burns, John Huston, Burl Ives, James Earl Jones, Christopher Lee, Walter Matthau, Vincent Price and Flip Wilson