Billie Mae Richards Biography

Billie Mae Richards, a Canadian voice actor and actress, had a diverse career in both radio dramas and animated films. Born and raised in Toronto, she began performing on stage at a young age and later joined the Royal Canadian Navy, showcasing her talents in the show “Meet the Navy.” In the 1950s, she gained recognition for voicing the character ‘Kid’ in the radio series “Jake and the Kid.” As her career progressed, she became known for her iconic roles as ‘Tenderheart Bear’ in the “Care Bears” film series and as the voice of ‘Rudolph’ in various Christmas films and TV shows. Richards also lent her voice to characters like ‘Billy Bond’ in “The King Kong Show” and ‘Billy Conner’ in the 1960s series “Spider-Man.” Sadly, she passed away in September 2010 after suffering a stroke.

Quick Facts

  • Canadian Celebrities Born In November
  • Also Known As: Billy Mae Dinsmore
  • Died At Age: 88
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Bill Richards (m. 1940–1995)
    • Children: Judi Richards
  • Voice Actors
  • Canadian Women
  • Height: 5’0″ (152 cm), 5’0″ Females
  • Died on: September 10, 2010
  • Place of death: Burlington, Canada
  • Notable Alumni: Lorne Greene Academy Of Radio Arts
  • Cause of Death: Stroke
  • City: Toronto, Canada
  • More Facts
  • Education: Lorne Greene Academy of Radio Arts

Childhood & Early Life

Billie Mae Richards, originally named Billy Mae Dinsmore, was born on November 21, 1921, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Her father had aspirations for her to become a dancer, so he enrolled her in dance classes at a young age. By the time she was 5 years old, she was already performing on stage, including a show with World War I veterans. She developed an interest in the army and considered enrolling in the Canadian army. After completing her education, she enlisted in the Canadian Royal Navy and also pursued her interest in radio by attending the Lorne Greene Academy of Radio Arts in Toronto.


Billie made her on-stage debut in the show “Meet the Navy” at Toronto’s Victoria Theatre in September 1943. The show, directed by Hollywood producer Louis Silver, was initially performed for servicemen only but later opened to the general public. It became a success and toured across Canada, the US, and Europe during World War II. Billie received accolades for her dance skills in the show. In 1964, the show debuted on TV.

In the late 1940s, Billie left the army and auditioned to work in radio after graduating from the Lorne Greene Academy of Radio Arts. She was hired to speak and sing in the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Her major breakthrough came in 1950 when she was hired to voice the character of the “Kid” in the radio series “Jake and the Kid.” Her voice became popular with listeners, and she continued to voice the “Kid” until 1956.

In 1964, Billie voiced the titular character “Rudolph” in the TV film “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” The stop motion animation film received critical acclaim and has been played on TV every year around Christmas since its debut. She also voiced the leading character “Willie McBean” in the stop motion animation film “Willy McBean and His Magic Machine” in 1965, which was a commercial and critical success.

Throughout the 1960s, Billie worked on various projects, including voicing “Billy Bond” in “The King Kong Show” and additional characters in the stop motion animated live-action comedy movie “The Daydreamer.” In 1967, she voiced “Billy Conner” in the animated series “Spider-Man” and remained associated with the series until 1970. She also voiced characters on “The Smokey Bear Show” in 1969.

In 1973, Billie joined the series “Festival of Family Classics” as a voice actor and voiced two key characters in the adventure animated series “The Undersea Adventures of Captain Nemo” in 1974. She reprised her voice role of “Rudolph” in the TV film “Rudolph’s Shiny New Year” in 1976 and in the film “Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July” in 1979.

In 1985, Billie voiced “Tenderheart Bear” in the animated comedy film “The Care Bears Movie” and continued to voice the character in the series “The Care Bears” and its sequel in 1986. She also provided her voice for the series “The NeverEnding Story.”

In addition to her voice work, Billie also appeared in live-action projects. She acted in films such as “The Big Slice” and “Shadow Builder” and had small roles in series like “Maniac Mansion,” “The Hidden Room,” and “My Secret Identity.” She also appeared in TV films such as “Melanie Darrow” and “Around the World in 80 Days.”

Family & Personal Life

Billie Mae Richards married musician Bill Richards in 1940, and they had a daughter named Judi Richards, who later became a singer-songwriter. Billie passed away on September 10, 2010, at the age of 88. She had suffered a stroke a few days before her death but initially recovered. However, she was hospitalized again due to complications and passed away shortly after.

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