{image via Rankin/Bass}

We regret to confirm that beloved producer and composer Jules Bass of Rankin-Bass fames has died at the age of 87. He died Tuesday, October 25, 2022 at an assisted living facility in Rye, New York, publicist Jennifer Fisherman-Ruff confirmed.

If you were an American under the age of 65, the odds are good that he was a cherished part of your childhood.

Jules Bass was co-producer of the Christmas special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. He was co-producer and co-director of the poignant holiday special The Little Drummer Boy. He directed and wrote some of the music for the stop-motion cult classic Mad Monster Party (1967). Jules Bass and his partner Arthur Rankin, Jr. (1924 – 2014) produced and directed such holiday specials as Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town, Frosty the Snowman, The Year Without a Santa Claus, Here Comes Peter Cottontail and Saturday morning cartoons like The Jackson 5ive, The Osmonds, ThunderCats, SilverHawks, and The Festival of Family Classics. Perhaps their greatest success was the animated movie The Last Unicorn (1982).

Jules Bass was born December 16, 1935, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and his life was one of endless creation.

Musical Composer

Jules Bass was producer of the animated The Hobbit (1977) and co-producer of its sequel The Return of the King (1980). He wrote the songs for The Return of the King, some based on the lyrics as laid down in the books by J.R.R. Tolkein, and others based purely on his own imagination.

{image via Rankin/Bass}

Because he wrote the “Heat Miser” and “Cold Miser” songs from The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974), he’s credited on the soundtrack of Batman and Robin (1997), which featured Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze.

For the animated remake of The Wind in the Willows (1987), Bass wrote eight songs. Bass and Rankin co-directed. The film was the final project of Rankin/Bass Productions.

After returning from making cartoons, Jules Bass turned to writing children’s books. A vegetarian himself, he wrote Herb, the Vegetarian Dragon, and Cooking with Herb, the Vegetarian Dragon: A Cook Book for Kids, both published in 1999. In 2001, he published the YA novel Headhunters. He published the magical adventure Mythomaniacs in 2013.

Jules Bass was a director, a producer, a writer, and a composer. He suffered one of the greatest tragedies known to Mankind: He outlived his offspring. His daughter Jean Nicole Bass, predeceased him. She died at last January at the age of 61 years old. Jules Bass and his daughter may be gone, but his legacy will live forever.


Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress ”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.