Arthur Rankin, Jr. died Thursday at his home by Harrington Sound in Bermuda.
Rankin began his career as an art director for the ABC in the 1940s. In the early 1960s he founded the film production company Videocraft International (now called Rankin/Bass Productions) with Jules Bass. The two worked closely together for many years, co-directing and producing a wide array of stop motion animated features and cartoons, perhaps most famously the holiday-themed
In 1977, Rankin and Bass produced a version of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, for which they were awarded the Peabody Award. The pair also teamed on a wide variety of animated TV series, including ThunderCats and Silverhawks. The pair last teamed on the 1987 TV special based on The Wind in the Willows. Rankin's last producing credit was on the 1999 animated version of The King and I.
Rankin met his to-be wife, Olga Karlatos, after he cast her in a 1983 television adaption of The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Sins of Dorian Gray. They settled in Bermuda, with Rankin looking to
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.
Calling him 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.
Good Night Mr. Rankin and thanks for the Christmas memories.