Lurene Tuttle

Biography

Lurene Tuttle (August 29, 1907, Pleasant Lake, Indiana - May 28, 1986, Encino, California) was a character actress, who made transitions from vaudeville to radio, to films and television. Her most enduring impact was as one of network radio's most versatile actresses. Often appearing in 15 shows a week, comedies, dramas, thrillers, soap operas, and crime dramas, and back she became known as the First Lady of Radio. She became interested in acting after her family moved to Southern California, appearing in Pasadena Playhouse productions before joining the vaudeville troupe, Murphy's Comedians. By the Great Depression, Tuttle had put her remarkable vocal versatility to work in radio, and within a decade she became one of the most in-demand actresses in the medium. Tuttle became a familiar face to millions of television viewers with over 100 TV appearances from 1950 to 1986. On TV and in films, Tuttle streamlined herself into a pattern of roles between wise, loving wives/mothers or bristling matrons. She was familiar to the early television audience as wife/mother Lavinia (Vinnie) Day in Life with Father (1953-1955), while concurrently graduating to film roles in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho and such other films as Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison, Orson Welles's Macbeth, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, The Fortune Cookie and The Affairs of Dobie Gillis. In Don't Bother to Knock (1952) she portrayed a mother who lets a disturbed Marilyn Monroe babysit her daughter, and had a rare starring role as Ma Barker in Ma Barker's Killer Brood (1960). She guest starred twice on Edmond O'Brien's 1960 syndicated crime drama Johnny Midnight. She then played a supporting role in the short-lived Father of the Bride (1961) television situation comedy. Lurene Tuttle's best known role to the general public was her stint as Lloyd Nolan's senior nurse in the Diahann Carroll series Julia (1968-1971) as the humorless but still warm-hearted Hannah Yarby. In 1980, Tuttle appeared in the Bette Davis television movie, White Mama. Tuttle married Melville Ruick, an actor she had met during her radio years; the couple had a daughter, Barbara Ruick, a musical comedy actress who married famed film composer John Williams before dying unexpectedly in 1974. Tuttle and Ruick eventually divorced; Tuttle remarried, but her second marriage didn't last very long. She became a respected acting coach and teacher — something she'd always done, even at the height of her acting career (she often re-trained radio actors who'd been away from the craft during service in World War II — until her death from cancer in 1986, aged 79. She was survived by three grandchildren and a great-grandchild. Her Sam Spade co-star, Howard Duff, who delivered her eulogy, remembered Tuttle: She could just take hold of a part and do something with it... I think she never met a part she didn't like. She just loved to work, she loved to act. She's a woman who was born to do what she was doing and loved every minute of it.

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Birth Name

Lurene Susie Tuttle

Birth Place

Pleasant Lake, Indiana, USA

Birth Date

8/29/1907

Death Date

5/28/1986
Known For
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Walking Tall 3

Grandma Pusser

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Vater werden ist nicht schwer

Miss Kenyon

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Ma Barker's Killer Brood

Ma Barker

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Tomorrow Is Another Day

Stella Dawson

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Human Experiments

Granny

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Nutcracker Fantasy

Aunt Gerda (voice)

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Don't bother to knock

Ruth Jones

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White Mama

Mrs. McIntyre

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Heaven Only Knows

Mrs. O'Donnell

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Sincerely Yours

Mrs. McGinley

Starring In
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It Came Upon the Midnight Clear

Mrs. Hunt

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Testament

Rosemary Abhart

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White Mama

Mrs. McIntyre

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Nutcracker Fantasy

Aunt Gerda (voice)

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Clonus

Anna Noble

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Human Experiments

Granny

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The Manitou

Mrs. Herz

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Evil Town

Mildred Phelps

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Walking Tall 3

Grandma Pusser

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Walking Tall 2

Grandma Pusser

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Walking Tall

Grandma Pusser

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The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit

Aunt Martha

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The Fortune Cookie

Mother Hinkle

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The Ghost and Mr. Chicken

Mrs. Natalie Miller

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Critic's Choice

Mother in 'Sisters Three'

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Petticoat Junction

Adelaide Keane / ... (3 episodes, 1964-1968)

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Psycho

Eliza Chambers

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Ma Barker's Killer Brood

Ma Barker

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Sweet Smell Of Success

Loretta Bartha (uncredited)

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Slander

Mrs. Doyle

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The Real McCoys: Complete Season 1

Gladys Purvis / ... (2 episodes, 1958-1959)

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Der gläserne Pantoffel

Cousin Loulou

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Sincerely Yours

Mrs. McGinley

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Niagara

Mrs. Kettering

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Give a Girl a Break

Mrs. Doolittle

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The Affairs of Dobie Gillis

Mrs. Eleanor Hammer

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Never Wave at a WAC

Capt. Murchinson

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Don't bother to knock

Ruth Jones

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Vater werden ist nicht schwer

Miss Kenyon

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The Whip Hand

Molly Loomis

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Tomorrow Is Another Day

Stella Dawson

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A Life of Her Own

Secretary (uncredited)

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The Admiral Was a Lady

Ethyl - Unemployment Clerk (uncredited)

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Macbeth

Gentlewoman / The Three

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Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House

Mary

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Heaven Only Knows

Mrs. O'Donnell

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