Jules Bass, ‘Frosty the Snowman’ and ‘Jack Frost’ Director, Dead at 87

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Jules Bass, who is best known for being the director and producer of Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Jack Frost has reportedly passed away at the age of 87.

According to PEOPLE, Jules Bass passed away from an age-related illness in Rye, New York on Tuesday (October 26th). A rep of the producer and director said, “He will be dearly missed by his close friends.”

Jules Bass’ death occurred nearly one year after his daughter, Jean Nicole Bass, passed away at 61. PEOPLE reports that along with his producing partner, Arthur Rankin Jr. Bass co-directed holiday classics. This includes The Little Drummer Boy (1968), Frosty the Snowman (1969), Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town (1970), The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974), and Jack Frost (1979). Under Rankin/Bass company, Rankin and Bass produced the 1964 special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. 

Jules Bass, alongside Rankin who died in January 2014, also directed crossover and sequels Rudolph’s Shiny New Year (1976), Frosty’s Winter Wonderland (1976), and Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July (1979). The duo received an Emmy nomination in 1977 for The Little Drummer Boy Book II. Within the same year, they then directed the 1977 animated TV movie adaption of The Hobbit. They received a Peabody Award for the production. 

Along with producing and directing, Jules Bass also wrote the 2001 novel Headhunters. The book was adapted into the 2011 movie Monte Carlo. The film starred Selena Gomez, Katie Cassidy, and Cory Monteith. 

Arthus Rankin Reflected on His Partnership With Jules Bass

During a 2005 interview with the Television Academy Foundation, Arthur Rankin discussed his partnership with Arthur Rank and what led to the duo’s producing and directing success. 

“We sort of complemented each other,” Rankin explained about his partnership with Jules Bass. “He had certain talents that I didn’t have, and I had certain talents that he didn’t have. I was basically an artist and creator; he was a creator and a writer and a lyricist.”

Rankin then discussed what he and Jules Bass were working on at the start of their collaboration. “We were working on commercials. We did all the products for AMP and we would use lipstick to make the steaks look better. Also at the time, it was black and white television so a lot of the products were if you would take a box for example Aunt Jemima Pancake flour. We would then reduce it to black and white and retouch it. So it would look good on camera.”

In regards to how the partnership with Jules Bass came to be, Arthur Rankin added, “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.