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Subject: ARCHIVE: July 3, 1957 ~Actress Judy Tyler, with origins as a chorus girl, the ambitious Tyler soon earned plum rolls in musical theatre on Broadway, leading to screen bit parts, finally starring opposite Elvis Presley in "Jailhouse Rock". She just completed filming when she and new teen husband were killed in car accident traveling across country. She was 24. ...

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Date Posted: Wednesday, July 03, 12:21:41pm

Judy Tyler
[ Judith Mae Hess ]
(October 9, 1932 July 3, 1957)

Early life and career ...

According to the 1932 New York City birth records, Judy Tyler was born Judith Mae Hess in Manhattan, New York on October 9, 1932. She spent her teen years in Teaneck, New Jersey. Tyler is frequently listed as having been born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. However, it was her mother, Lorelei, who was born in Wisconsin. The 1940 census also states that Tyler was born in New York. She came from a show business family and was encouraged to study dance and acting. Tyler's 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 land a starring 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. Tyler lived with her parents in Teaneck, New Jersey while appearing on Howdy Doody and Broadway. Offered an opportunity in Hollywood, Tyler appeared in the film Bop Girl Goes Calypso (1957), then starred opposite Elvis Presley in Jailhouse Rock (1957). She made a guest appearance on Perry Mason as Irene Kilby in "The Case of the Fan Dancer's Horse", which aired on December 28, 1957, nearly six months after her death.

Tyler finished filming on "Jailhouse Rock" on June 30, 1957, and
posthumously premiered four months later on October 17, 1957. ...

After completing filming of the Presley movie, she and her second husband, Gregory Lafayette (born Earl Gregory Nisonger Jr. on January 23, 1938 in New York City) left Hollywood to return to their home in New York. While driving through Wyoming on Wednesday, July 3, 1957, they were involved in an automobile accident on U.S. Route 287 near Rock River. She was killed instantly, aged 24, and her husband died the following day, aged 19. Tyler (Mrs LaFayette) was killed instantly on Highway 30 near Wilcox, Wyoming when her husband of only four months, actor Gregory LaFayette, swerved into oncoming traffic in order to avoid hitting a car towing a trailer that pulled in front of them onto the highway. The Lafayette car was hit broadside by another car driven by Paul L. Reed, 32. Tyler's husband died the next day at the hospital and Donald J. Jones, 23, a passenger in the Reed automobile, also died. The Lafayette's traveling pets, a dog and a cat, also perished in the crash.

Tyler's cremated remains are in the private family room of her husband's
family mausoleum in Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.


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Subject Author Date
"Goodbye Little Star" (Tribute to Judy Tyler)Kenny BakerWednesday, July 03, 01:58:20pm

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