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Les Tremayne Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (1)  | Trivia (7)

Overview (4)

Born in Balham, London, England, UK
Died in Santa Monica, California, USA  (heart failure)
Birth NameLester Tremayne Henning
Height 5' 10½" (1.79 m)

Mini Bio (1)

One of America's most heard men back in the day with thousands of radio programs to his credit and the possessor of one of the most prominent male voices of that medium's war-era "Golden Age," veteran actor Les Tremayne was considered to have the third most distinctive tones on the airwaves, only behind Bing Crosby and Franklin D. Roosevelt!

Born Lester Tremayne Henning in London, England, on April 16, 1913, the family moved to Chicago, Illinois when the boy was only four. Wanting to bury his British accent growing up in the States, Les took an an eager interest in community theatre. He began his professional career as a dancer in vaudeville, supplementing his income on the side as a barker in various amusement parks.

Les received his first radio job in Chicago when he was 17 years old. While gaining experience, he attended Northwestern University where he studied Greek drama and also took up anthropology at Columbia University and UCLA. During the 1930s and 1940s, Tremayne was usually heard in more than one show per week. Growing in leaps and bounds as a voice that could handle many types, ages and accents, his first big break occurred in 1934 as the leading man on the soap drama "The Romance of Helen Trent." He then replaced actor Don Ameche as the leading man on the popular weekly radio drama "The First Nighter," a stint that lasted six years. During that time, his more popular series work included that of super-sleuth Nick Charles in "The Adventures of the Thin Man." He also became the announcer on "The Bob Crosby Show."

Searching for bigger opportunities, Les transplanted himself to both Los Angeles New York in 1943, and continued to find radio work as the title role in "The Falcon," played detective Pat Abbott in "The Abbott Mysteries," appeared on Bob Crosby's programs "The Old Gold Show" and "The Bob Crosby Show," and co-starred as the straight man alongside "The Great One" on "The Jackie Gleason/Les Tremayne Show" when Crosby enlisted for WWII service. Other shows would include a breakfast talk format, "The Tremaynes," with second wife Alice Reinheart, as well as the programs "Cavalcade of America," "Ford Theatre," "Inner Sanctum Mysteries," "Kraft Music Hall," "Lux Radio Theatre" and "The Whistle," among so many others.

In the 1950s, Les took on films and the new medium of TV. Typically playing military types, erudite professionals, shifty execs and errant husbands, Tremayne's more officious roles included playing a police commission chief in The Racket (1951); a colonel in Francis Goes to West Point (1952); a lawyer in Susan Slept Here (1954); a senator in A Man Called Peter (1955) and another colonel in The Perfect Furlough (1958). Best remembered for his characters in cult 1950s sci-fiers, he co-starred or was featured in The War of the Worlds (1953), The Monolith Monsters (1957), The Monster of Piedras Blancas (1959) and The Angry Red Planet (1959). His mellifluous voice was also utilized in films (Forbidden Planet (1956)), in film trailers (The Iron Petticoat (1956)) and for narrating documentaries (Adventures in the Red Sea (1951)).

On TV, Les earned frequent appearances on such established programs as "The Danny Thomas Show," "Mr. Adams and Eve," "The Thin Man," "Bachelor Father," "77 Sunset Strip," "The Jack Benny Program," "The Rifleman," "State Trooper," "M Squad," "Thriller," "Perry Mason," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Checkmate" and "The Andy Griffith Show." He also had a recurring TV role as Major Stone on The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin (1954) and co-starred as Inspector Richard Queen, the father of the famed mystery writer (played by George Nader on the series The Further Adventures of Ellery Queen (1958).

A flurry of unworthy low-budget films came Tremayne's way in later years including Shootout at Big Sag (1962), King Kong vs. Godzilla (1963), The Slime People (1963), Creature of Destruction (1968), Strawberries Need Rain (1971) and Fangs (1974). Les also found work with the CBS Mystery Radio Theatre. He also provided voices for "Mr. Magoo," "Johnny Quest," "The Smurfs," "Go-Bots," "Scooby Doo," and" "Rikki Tiki Tavi."

Inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1995, Les would take his final bow in the comedy film horror The Naked Monster (2005) which featured several other cult actors of 50's sci-fi/horror including Kenneth Tobey, John Agar, Robert Clarke, Robert Cornthwaite, Jeanne Carmen, Lori Nelson, Ann Robinson and Gloria Talbott.

Les died of heart failure in Santa Monica, California, on December 19, 2003, at the age of 90, and was survived by his fourth wife, Joan Hertz.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Family (1)

Spouse Joan Lenore Hertz (17 July 1980 - 19 December 2003)  (his death)
Ruth Ann Mills (18 October 1963 - 26 May 1967)  (divorced)
Alice Reinheart (9 December 1945 - 1962)  (divorced)
Eileen Palmer (1 May 1940 - 25 August 1944)  (divorced)

Trivia (7)

Elected to the Radio Hall of Fame in 1995.
He became so popular on 1940s radio that one poll cited him as one of the three most famous voices in America, along with Franklin D. Roosevelt and Bing Crosby.
Charter member of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA).
He and his second wife, Alice, hosted a breakfast radio talk-show entitled "The Tremaynes".
Began working in radio when just in his teens.
Portrayed by actor Michael Brandon in "Me and Orson Welles" (2009).
Educated at Northwestern University, Chicago Art Institute, Columbia University, and UCLA.

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