The woman behind the voice of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has died after suffering a stroke at her home in Canada. She was 88.

Actress Billie Mae Richards voiced the popular festive cartoon in the early 1960s and the TV special has since become a seasonal institution.

Richards landed the part thanks to her ability to speak like a young boy.

A veteran of Canadian radio, she's credited as Billy Richards in the Christmas show, narrated by Burl Ives.