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Babar's Mother Dies At Age 99

Cecile de Brunhoff, the lady who invented the story of the little elephant, BABAR, in 1931 to tell her boys as a bedtime story, has died of a stroke at the age of 99 in Paris on April 7, 2003, it was reported by the LOS ANGELES TIMES. Her husband, painter Jean de Brunhoff illustrated the story, actually named the elephant and created Celestre, Sephir and the Old Lady who takes care of young Barbar after his mother is killed. Before THE STORY OF BABAR was published, Cecile de Brunhoff insisted that her name be removed from the book because she thought her role was too minor, according publishers Harry N. Abrams Inc. Her husband died in 1937, but their eldest son, Laurent, carried on Babar's adventures which inspired an animated television series, BABAR, now airing on HBO Family in the U.S. and animated features from Nelvana, including BABAR: THE MOVIE (1989), BABAR AND FATHER CHRISTMAS (1986) and BARBAR, KING OF THE ELEPHANTS (1998). Corus Entertainment's Nelvana acquired all proprietary rights to BABAR when the character turned 70 in 2001. Laurent de Brunhoff made the deal through The Clifford Ross Company on behalf of the de Brunhoff family. The Nelvana acquisition includes 100% of all trademarks and copyrights to the BABAR property, as well as the de Brunhoff family's financial interests in the brand, while the son retained the publishing rights. The mother of Babar is survived by her three sons, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.