This story was published in Radio Recall, the journal of the Metropolitan Washington Old-Time Radio Club, published six times per year.
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TYLER McVEY DIES IN CALIFORNIA; WAS 91
(From Radio Recall, August 2003, compiled from West Coast media)
Tyler McVey, a handsome, silver-haired actor whose 60-year career spanned all performance venues -- network radio, television, motion pictures and the stage -- died in Rancho Mirage, CA on July 4th. McVey died at home after a long battle with lymphocitic leukemia, said his wife, Esther. He was 91 years old.
In addition to acting, McVey was busy in union work. He joined the American Federation of Radio Artists in 1938 and remained with the organization when it became the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) He was president of the Los Angeles local for five years before he became president of the national organization, and he served on its board of directors for more than 30 years.
McVey was born on Valentine's Day, 1912, in Bay City, Mich. His mother died when he was a baby, and he was raised his grandparents and an aunt and uncle. As a boy, he haunted theaters, starred in shows at Bay City High School and in junior college. He dreamed of being discovered by a Broadway talent scout whose car might break down in Bay City.
In 1937, McVey and his bride, Lorraine Budge, Miss Michigan in the Miss America contest, came to Los Angeles. Ostensibly, it was a wedding trip, but it was really a commitment to Tyler's life as an actor. His and Lorraine's daughter, Andrea, was born about this time.
He ended up joining a group of more than 100 free-lance radio actors whose voices were heard on a variety of programs originating from Hollywood from the 1930s to about 1960. A longtime member of Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters, he estimated he was on more than 1,000 broadcasts. Some of his shows were "The Jack Benny Program," "Fibber McGee & Molly," "The Red Skelton Show," "Dr. Christian," "Red Ryder," "Glamour Manor" and "The Great Gildersleeve."
In the 1950s, network radio was losing its fight with television and many actors looked for work on the silver screen. "Those were rough years for all of us," McVey recalled years ago, "Movie producers didn't believe radio people could act, until guys like Frank Lovejoy showed them."
McVey was able to nab character parts in major films. Among them were, "The Day the Earth Stood Still," "Seven Days in May," "Man's Favorite Sport," "The Caine Mutiny" and "Hello, Dolly."
McVey married his second wife, Rita, in 1950 and they became the parents of Jessica and Theresa. In the mid-1960s, the McVeys moved to the Ventura Keys. By then he'd been in about 300 episodes of various TV shows, including "I Love Lucy," "Dragnet," "Gunsmoke," "Wyatt Earp," "Maverick" "Ironsides," "My Three Sons" and "Hazel."
On stage, he played in "Bell, Book and Candle" with Lurene Tuttle, "Plaza Suite" with Gale Storm and, in Texas, he played in "What Did We Do Wrong." That one was with Esther Geddes, who thought he was such a wonderful husband on stage, she'd check it out in real life. They married in 1971 and she survives him.
All his life, McVey enjoyed sailing, reading nonfiction and socializing with his friends. In later years, he pleased many audiences re-creating radio shows, many with his wife, at OTR conventions in Newark, Cincinnati, and Seattle.
Tyler McVey was also survived by his daughters Andrea Burditt, Jessica McVey and Theresa Simmons; six stepdaughters, 10 grandchildren and many friends. By his request, his ashes were be scattered at sea, his widow said.