Willie Tyler and Lester, 1969
|Born||September 8, 1940|
Red Level, Alabama, U.S.
Willie Tyler (born September 8, 1940) is an American ventriloquist, comedian and actor. Most of the time, he is credited as Willie Tyler and Lester or Willie Tyler & Lester. He has appeared in many television commercials, sitcoms, and movies. He got his first big break in 1972 on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In.
Tyler was born in Red Level, Alabama, and raised in South East Detroit, Michigan. He attended Detroit's Northeastern High School in the late 1950s. He is the father of Tarince Tyler and actor Cory Tyler.
Tyler has had guest roles in The Parent 'Hood, Pacific Blue, What's Happening Now!!, The White Shadow and The Jeffersons, as well as serving as host of the Saturday morning children's anthology series ABC Weekend Specials throughout the early 1980s. He appeared in the 1978 film Coming Home. In addition, he has appeared in television commercials in the 1980s for McDonald's, Toyota, and Hires Root Beer.
He appeared as himself in the 2004 BET Comedy Awards, Frank McKlusky, C.I., For Da Love of Money, In the House, the 4th Annual Black Gold Awards, The 1st Annual Soul Train Music Awards, Motown Returns to the Apollo, Lou Rawls Parade of Stars, Powerhouse, The White Shadow, American Bandstand, Vegetable Soup, The Flip Wilson Show, The Statler Brothers Show, The Hollywood Palace, Match Game and Family Feud. On September 18, 2006, Tyler was the first ventriloquist to appear on the Late Show with David Letterman's Ventriloquist Week. On May 21, 2019, Tyler appeared as a 1972 TV version of himself on the ABC sitcom The Kids are Alright.
Cory Tyler (born Cory Lane Tyler, May 25, 1973), was born in Hollywood, California, and began working as an actor at the age of 5. Tyler is the son of comedian and ventriloquist Willie Tyler (Willie Tyler & Lester). Tyler has appeared in various commercials, television shows and movies which include Michael Jackson's Moonwalker in 1988 and Season 6 of Kids Incorporated. In 1989, Tyler co-hosted Wild & Crazy Kids on Nickelodeon. In the 1990s Tyler appeared as Herbert Little on Beverly Hills, 90210 and guest starred on Sister, Sister as Elliot. He is best known for the role of Terrence Taylor on the NBC sitcom A Different World.
Cory continued to work in Hollywood and in addition to his acting work, formed a production company with fellow thespians Derrick "Ski-ter" Jones and Charles Carpenter called Triune Entertainment. The trio produced a series of short films including the first of its kind, comedy web series to feature African Americans called Can We Do That?
Cory retired from the entertainment industry in 2010. The same year Tyler became aware of the process called Nonviolent Communication, created by psychologist Dr. Marshall Rosenberg. Cory would learn more about NVC from a series of mentors which include Bill Stierle, and NVC certified trainers Jim and Jori Manske, Mary Mackenzie and Lorraine Aguilar.
- on YouTube
- Official website
- Willie Tyler on IMDb
- An Interview with Willie Tyler Part One, February 2012
- An Interview with Willie Tyler Part Two, February 2012
- Willie Tyler at Richard De La Font Agency
- Willie Tyler at Funny Business Agency
- Willie Tyler on Tom Green Live