Burl Ives was a folk singer/actor during the 1940s through the 1980s. Some of his more popular songs were "Big Rock Candy Mountain", "A Little Bitty Tear", "Funny Way of Laughing", and "A Holly Jolly Christmas", but that is just a tiny sampling of his vast song repertoire.
One of his most memorable acting roles was as 'Big Daddy' in the 1955 Broadway play "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" - he also played the character in the feature movie three years later.
In 1964, Mr. Ives gained a new audience of children when he narrated the tv stop-motion-animated production of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer". His character was 'Sam the Snowman'. This has been shown each year during the Christmas holiday season since its original telecast.
His credits are numerous and can be found on the Burl Ives International Web Site.
I wrote to Mr. Ives in 1982, requesting an autographed photo. He sent me two photos, and they can be seen here and here.