Thursday, December 19, 2019

"The Angry Red Planet" Actor Les Tremayne 2003 Westwood Village Cemetery

Lester "Les" Tremayne (April 16, 1913 – December 19, 2003) was a radio, film and television actor.

Early years

Born in England, he moved with his family at the age four to Chicago, Illinois, United States, where he began in community theatre. His mother was Dolly Tremayne, a British actress.[1] He danced as a vaudeville performer and worked as amusement park barker. He began working in radio when he was 17 years old.[2]

Tremayne studied Greek drama at Northwestern University and studied anthropology at Columbia University and UCLA.[3]


In 1974, Tremayne commented, "I've been in more than 30 motion pictures, but it's from radio ... that most people remember me."[1]

His radio career began in 1931,[1] and during the 1930s and 1940s, Tremayne was often heard in more than one show per week. Replacing Don Ameche, he starred in The First Nighter Program from 1936 to 1942. 

He starred in The Adventures of the Thin Man and The Romance of Helen Trent during the 1940s. He also starred in the title role in The Falcon,[4] and played detective Pat Abbott in The Abbott Mysteries in 1946–47. Tremayne was once named one of the three most distinctive voices on American radio. The other two were Bing Crosby and President Franklin D. Roosevelt.[5]

In his later years, Tremayne was active in Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters as the group's historian and archivist. Those roles included interviewing people who were active in early radio to provide source material for researchers.[1]


His film credits include A Man Called Peter, The Racket, The Angry Red Planet, The War of The Worlds, Say One for Me, North by Northwest, The Monolith Monsters, The Monster of Piedras Blancas, and The Fortune Cookie.


Tremayne's Broadway credits include Detective Story (1949-1950), and Heads or Tails (1947).[6]


Tremayne portrayed Billy Herbert in the television version of One Man's Family (1949-1955)[7]:791 and Inspector Richard Queen in The Further Adventures of Ellery Queen on NBC (1958-1959).[7]

In 1963 Tremayne appeared in the Perry Mason episode, "The Case of Constant Doyle," along with special guest attorney Bette Davis. He appeared in seven other episodes as various characters, such as Deputy District Attorney Stewart Linn in the 1960 episode, "The Case of the Madcap Modiste." In 1961 he played the title role of murder victim Willard Nesbitt in "The Case of the Angry Dead Man." In 1966 he played murderer Harry Lannon in "The Case of the Unwelcome Well." In 1964 he played Ed Pierce in "The Case of the Ruinous Road."

In 1962 Tremayne portrayed the part of C.J. Hasler, a known thief in The Andy Griffith Show episode entitled, "Andy and Barney in the Big City" aired on 26 March 1962. In that show, he played the part of a cunning opportunist who happens onto off-duty Barney Fife who himself believes that he is stalking a jewel thief (Allan Melvin) who is in fact the house detective of the hotel where the story takes place.

In 1965 Tremayne played Mr. Clary in My Favorite Martian, season 2, episode 30, titled "006 3/4."

In 1969 he lent his vocal talents to the Walt Kelly/Chuck Jones animated television special The Pogo Special Birthday Special. Other voice contributors were June Foray and both Chuck Jones and Walt Kelly themselves.

Between 1974 and 1977, Tremayne appeared on the Saturday morning Shazam! television series based on the DC Comics superhero Captain Marvel. In the role of Mentor, Tremayne served as the literal mentor of the program's protagonist, young Billy Batson.[7]:956

In 1987, Tremayne appeared on General Hospital as Edward Quartermaine for six months, the oldest character in that series, as a temporary replacement for David Lewis. He played the deceased Victor Lord for one month on One Life to Live during the 1987 Heaven storyline in which daughter Vicki Lord Buchanan (Erika Slezak) was reunited with most every character that had died on the show after a heart attack left her in purgatory.


Tremayne was elected to the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1995.[8]

Personal life

Tremayne was married four times. He did a morning talk show, The Tremaynes,[9] with his second wife, Alice Reinhart, whom he married December 11, 1945.[10] When Tremayne died in 2003, he was married to his fourth wife, Joan.[2]


In 2003, Tremayne died of heart failure at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California at the age of 90.[2]

He was entombed in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery.

Selected filmography

The Racket (1951) as Harry Craig (Crime Commission chief investigator)
The Blue Veil (1951) as Joplin

Francis Goes to West Point (1952) as Col. Daniels

It Grows on Trees (1952) as Finlay Murchison
I Love Melvin (1953) as Mr. Henneman
Dream Wife (1953) as Ken Landwell
Tarzan and the She-Devil (1953) as Opening Off-Screen Narrator (voice, uncredited)

The War of the Worlds (1953) as Maj. Gen. Mann

Susan Slept Here (1954) as Harvey Butterworth, Mark's Lawyer

A Man Called Peter (1955) as Sen. Willis K. Harvey

The Lieutenant Wore Skirts (1956) as Henry 'Hank' Gaxton

Forbidden Planet (1956) as Narrator (voice, uncredited)
Bhowani Junction (1956) as Trailer Narrator (uncredited)
The Iron Petticoat (1956) as Trailer Narrator (voice, uncredited)
The Unguarded Moment (1956) as Mr. Pendleton
Everything but the Truth (1956) as Lawrence 'Larry' Everett

The Monolith Monsters (1957) as Martin Cochrane

The Perfect Furlough (1958) as Col. Leland

From the Earth to the Moon (1958) as Countdown Announcer (uncredited)

The Monster of Piedras Blancas (1959) as Dr. Sam Jorgenson

Count Your Blessings (1959) as Trailer Narrator (voice, uncredited)
Say One for Me (1959) as Harry LaMaise
North by Northwest (1959) as Auctioneer

The Angry Red Planet (1959) as Prof. Theodore Gettell

The Gallant Hours (1960) as Capt. Frank Enright
The Story of Ruth (1960) as Elimelech

Shoot Out at Big Sag (1962) as Chan Bartholomew

King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) as Commander Roberts / General Shinzo / Narrator (voice, uncredited)
Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) as Trailer Narrator (voice, uncredited)
The Slime People (1963) as Norman Tolliver
Goldfinger (1964) as Radio Newsman (voice, uncredited)
Strange Bedfellows (1965) as Opening Off-Screen Narrator (uncredited)
Girl Happy (1965) as Opening Narrator (voice, uncredited)
Harum Scarum (1965) as Trailer Co-Narrator (voice, uncredited)
Il pianeta errante (1966) as Gen. Norton (English version, voice, uncredited)
The Fortune Cookie (1966) as Thompson

Creatures of Destruction (1967) as Dr. John Basso

The Phantom Tollbooth (1970) as Humbug (voice)

Strawberries Need Rain (1970) as The Reaper

Oliver Twist (1974) as Fagin (voice)
Snakes (1974) as Snakey Bender
Daffy Duck's Fantastic Island (1983) as The Well (voice)
Starchaser: The Legend of Orin (1985) as Arthur (voice)
The Naked Monster (2005) as General Mann (final film role)


1. "Tremayne Recalls Old Radio Shows". The Naples Daily News. 10 November 1974. p. 56. 
2. McLellan, Dennis (23 December 2003). "Les Tremayne, 90; Radio Icon’s Acting Career Ran 6 Decades", Los Angeles Times. 
3. Sterling, Christopher H.; Keith, Michael (2004). The Museum of Broadcast Communications Encyclopedia of Radio (PDF) (1st ed.). New York [etc.]: Fitzroy Dearborn. p. 1415. ISBN 1-57958-249-4. 
4. Sies, Luther F. (2014). Encyclopedia of American Radio, 1920-1960, 2nd Edition, Volume 1. McFarland and Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-5149-4. P. 13.
5. Sterling, Christopher H. (2011). The Biographical Encyclopedia of American Radio. Routledge. p. 393. ISBN 978-0-415-99549-8.
6. "Les Tremayne". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. 
7. Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland and Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 373. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
8. "Les Tremayne". National Radio Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 21 November 2017. 
9. Morse, Leon (7 May 1949). "Program Reviews: The Tremaynes" (PDF). Billboard. p. 10. 
10. "From the Production Centres: In New York City ..." Variety. 5 December 1945. p. 34. 

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