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Lucille Bliss, R.I.P.

Photo by Dave Nimitz

One of the earliest cartoon shows I recall loving was Crusader Rabbit, which in most accounts is said to be the first cartoon series ever produced for the new (at the time) medium of television. Lucille Bliss, who died Thursday at the age of 96, was the original voice of Crusader Rabbit.

Lucille was a native of New York who later lived alternately in both San Francisco and Los Angeles. In S.F., she hosted a popular kids' show in the fifties and participated in local television and theater. In Los Angeles, she did hundreds of voiceover jobs. In addition to the first season of Crusader Rabbit (someone else voiced Crusader in the second), her notable roles included step-sister Anastasia in Cinderella, Smurfette in the long-running series of The Smurfs, and Miss Bitters on Nickelodeon's popular series, Invader Zim. She was also heard in dozens of theatrical animation shorts for Warner Brothers and MGM, as well as other TV shows like Hanna-Barbera's Space Kidettes and The Flintstones. She was even more active in animated commercials and often dubbed in the voices of child actors.

Lucille was interviewed for the Archive of American Television and you can watch that interview here. I had the pleasure of seeing her at local animation events, where she was very active when in town, and having her on several panels at Comic-Con and elsewhere. At one, she gave a 10-minute answer to a question about what it means to be a Professional. She spoke eloquently of being on time, taking direction, listening to the director and to other actors, taking classes, always being ready to learn and, in general, always giving 110%. I haven't watched that online video but I hope she says some of that in there. It would give you all a valuable lesson, as well as a good insight into why Lucille Bliss had such a good and long career.