August 20, 1907
May 28, 1986
Character actress Lurene Tuttle, dubbed "The First Lady of Radio," got her start in vaudeville, though she eventually transitioned into film and carried on a rich television career spanning several decades. Tuttle was such a major fixture in radio that the advocacy she lent, along with Jack Benny and Bing Crosby, to the formation of the American Federation of Radio Artists, and subsequently the Radio Actors Guild, led to their official establishment. Though radio allowed Tuttle to play a wide range of characters, she is most known for playing busybody neighbors and stodgy yet charming older matriarchs. In the radio mystery-comedy "The Adventures of Sam Spade," Tuttle played nearly every female role, though primarily voiced Spade's secretary, Effie. One of Tuttle's most notable radio-to-television transitions was with "The Red Skelton Show," which started as a radio variety program and became a television staple from the early 1950s through the early 1970s. Tuttle's major film appearances include her role as the sheriff's wife in Alfred Hitchock's classic thriller "Psycho," and as a gentlewoman and one of the three witches in Orson Welles's "Macbeth." Tuttle, however, became more well-known in the latter half of the 20th century for her role as dour yet warm-hearted nurse Hannah Yarby in the sitcom "Julia," starring Diahann Carroll; it was one of the first sitcoms to feature a female African American character in a leading role.