As Peggy Van Alden in Jailhouse Rock (1957)
October 9, 1932|
|Died||July 3, 1957
near Rock River, Wyoming
Early life and career
Born Judith Mae Hess in Milwaukee, she came from a show business family and was encouraged to study dance and acting. Her acting career began as a teenager with regular appearances on Howdy Doody as Princess Summerfall Winterspring from 1950 to 1953.
Like her mother, she became a chorus girl but then went on to star in a major role in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, Pipe Dream. Life did a story on rising Broadway talent with Tyler on the magazine's cover as one of the up-and-coming stars. She lived with her parents in Teaneck, New Jersey when appearing on Howdy Doody and Broadway. She made a guest appearance on Perry Mason as Irene Kilby in "The Case of the Fan Dancer's Horse" which aired December 28, 1957, nearly six months after her death.
After completing filming of the Presley movie, she and her second husband, Greg Lafayette, left Los Angeles to drive back home to their apartment in Manhattan. While driving through Wyoming on July 3, 1957, they were involved in an automobile accident on U.S. Route 30 just 3 miles north of Rock River. Judy was killed instantly and Greg died the next day at a hospital in Laramie.
Tyler's cremated remains are in the private family room of her husband in the mausoleum in Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. Elvis Presley, who co-starred with Tyler in Jailhouse Rock (1957) was stunned at the news and never watched the movie again.
- Obituary Variety, July 10, 1957, page 127.
- "JUDY TYLER DIES AS CARS COLLIDE; Actress and Husband Killed by Crash in Wyoming-- Was on 'Howdy Doody'", The New York Times, July 4, 1957. Accessed August 8, 2008.
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