Tyler McVey

Tyler McVey

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif.--Tyler McVey, a handsome, avuncular character actor whose long career included work in theater, network radio, TV and movies, died at his home here July 4 after a long battle with lymphocitic leukemia. He was 91. MSTies will remember him as 'ol Doc Grayson in the movie in 406 - ATTACK OF THE GIANT LEECHES and Dr. Alex Wyman in 701 - NIGHT OF THE BLOOD BEAST.

Born in 1912 in Bay City, Mich., his mother died when he was a baby, and he grew up with grandparents and an aunt and uncle. As a boy he haunted theaters, and by the time he reached High School he was already starring in theatrical productions. His first wife was Lorraine Budge, Miss Michigan in the Miss America contest. The two moved to Los Angeles in 1937.

His first work was in radio, and he was a longtime member of Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters. Some of the shows he worked on 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, with network radio fading, McVey found work in films. He appeared in well-regarded films such as "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.

He also found work on many TV shows, including "I Love Lucy," "Dragnet," "Gunsmoke," "Wyatt Earp," "Maverick," "Ironsides," "My Three Sons" and "Hazel."

On stage, he appeared in productions of "Bell, Book and Candle", "Plaza Suite" and "What Did We Do Wrong." He costarred in the latter with Esther Geddes, whom he married in 1971.

In addition to acting, McVey, was a busy union activist. He joined the American Federation of Radio Artists in 1938 before it became the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. He was president of the Los Angeles local for five years, and then was president of the national organization. He served on its board of directors for more than 30 years.

McVey is survived by his wife Esther, and by his three daughters, six stepdaughters and 10 grandchildren. By his request, his ashes will be scattered at sea, his wife said.