Beverly Tyler dies: Minor MGM leading lady of the '40s
Beverly Tyler, a leading lady in a handful of mostly B movies of the 1940s and 1950s, died of pulmonary embolism in Reno, Nevada, on Nov. 23, '05. Tyler was 78. (Image: Beverly Tyler in the mid-'40s.)
Born as Beverly Jean Saul on July 5, 1927, in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Beverly Tyler landed an MGM contract in the early '40s. But despite her singing skills and radio experience, Tyler was relegated to just a few supporting and decorative leading-lady roles before she and the studio parted ways.
Her two most prestigious film appearances during her brief MGM tenure were those in Victor Saville's family drama The Green Years (1946), starring Charles Coburn and Tom Drake; and in Norman Taurog's The Beginning or the End (1947), a melodrama about the first A-bomb, with Drake, Robert Walker, and Brian Donlevy.
Apart from three bits in her first couple of years at the studio, Tyler's only other MGM movie role was in Fred Zinnemann's unlikely comedy My Brother Talks to Horses (1947), toplining Jackie 'Butch' Jenkins, Peter Lawford, and Edward Arnold.
Beverly Tyler: Post-MGM career
Beverly Tyler's MGM career came to an abrupt halt in 1947, when she lost the female lead in The Romance of Rosy Ridge to newcomer Janet Leigh. According to Leigh, MGM head Louis B. Mayer felt Tyler was “was a little too sophisticated to play a farm girl. They wanted a more naïve type, and they sure got her.”
Beverly Tyler would return to the big screen three years later, but in B movies at various studios. Among those were The Fireball (1950), with former MGM superstar Mickey Rooney; the B Western The Battle at Apache Pass (1952), with John Lund and Jeff Chandler; Voodoo Island (1957), opposite Boris Karloff; and, further down the cast list, Chicago Confidential (1957), with Brian Keith and Beverly Garland. Her last film role was in Edward L. Cahn's B thriller Hong Kong Confidential (1958), opposite Gene Barry.
In the mid-'50s, Beverly Tyler was featured in the TV series Big Town. She later guested in several other series (Mike Hammer, Bonanza, Hazel) before retiring in 1961.
The following year, she married TV director Jim Jordan, with whom she eventually settled in Reno. Jordan died in 1998.
Janet Leigh quote re: Beverly Tyler and The Romance of Rosy Ridge: The Independent.