Judy Tyler’s one of the most well remembered actresses of her generation. From modeling to singing to even acting on Broadway, it was no doubt that Judy Tyler was a star. Judy worked her way up the ladder of fame for years before she finally had true success. Judy cast for a role in an up and coming movie with Elvis Presley! Excited to start her career in film, Judy traveled to Hollywood with her new husband and began filming. Elvis and Judy became close friends during their time together on set. Unfortunately, just after filming had ended, Judy tragically killed in an automobile accident! Though the accident shook the world, it hurt Elvis the most. Be sure to watch this video to find out the tragic details behind Judy Tyler’s death and Elvis’ grief.
Judy Tyler was born as Judith Mae Hess on October 9th, 1932. From a young age, Judy destined for a lifetime of fame. Both of her parents were musically and creatively talented in many ways. Judy’s father played the trumpet in a popular band in the 1920s, and her mother was a famous dancer for the Ziegfeld Follies company on Broadway. At an early age it was no surprise that Judy felt the pressure to live up to her parents.
Growing up, Judy studied music, ballet, and acting before she attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City where she was known to have some other famous classmates.
When Judy was in her teens, she modeled for an agency that helped boost her career. Judy’s agent suggested she change her last name to Tyler. Many celebrities change their last name to make it more palatable for fans.
With the help of her agents, Judy received training to appear on television and radio shows. Judy worked tirelessly to get her name out to the public and prove she was a star.
Her Shot at Fame
When Tyler was 18 years old, she earned her place as a dancer on the Copacabana line. During her time as a dancer, Judy met a wide variety of men who tried to swoon her.
Judy ended up marrying the pianist for the Copacabana choir. When Colin Romoff heard the talent in Judy’s singing voice, he urged her to audition. Only two months after meeting, Colin and Judy married.
In her early years before reaching true fame, Judy worked at nightclubs and bars all across the New York City area. The city kept her busy and opened many doors for the young star.
Eventually, Judy got her time to shine when she cast for a television role with NBC.
Judy Tyler cast as an Indian Princess on the hit childrens show: Howdy Doody.
The show clearly gauged toward young elementary age children, but Judy Tyler captured the attention of little girls everywhere, as well as their fathers. Judy known not only for her talent, but for her stunning looks.
Though the children’s show brought Judy Tyler name recognition, she was also well known for her many roles in the Broadway theatre. Just appeared in several Broadway acts and stole the show each time. Not only was Judy a performer, but she traveled the country to appear at the grand openings of many supermarkets. Judy’s presence at these events would draw massive crowds from all over. By this time in her career, it was clear that Judy had a following.
Her Move to Hollywood
Though her career was taking off, Judy’s personal life was far from perfect. Due to her high work volume, her marriage with Romoff had strained. The couple divorced from each other in 1956.
Not long after her divorce from Romoff, Judy married again only one year later on St. Patrick’s Day of 1957.
Judy married a 19 year old man with hopes to someday become an actor. Gregory LaFayette and Judy married in Miami Florida. After the couple traveled north to set up their New York City apartment, they went straight to Hollywood to begin their careers in acting.
Unsurprisingly, both of them found work somewhat instantly. Judy cast as a singer in a rock and roll film, while her handsome husband quickly snatched up for a role in a war movie called, Under Fire. Judy also lucked out when she cast for a minor role as a stripper in a popular television series at the time. The young actress received some backlash for taking such a scandalous role; but Judy paid no mind to the naysayers. Clearly older men were tuning in to her children’s show, why not display her beauty through a more adult medium?
Not before long, Judy received her life changing role in the film where she starred with Elvis!
Judy Tyler and Elvis Presley starred together in their famous movie, Jailhouse Rock.
Jailhouse Rock film produced in 1957 about a man who was put in prison for defending a woman during a bar fight. While in prison, Elvis’ character feels a sense of freedom when his cellmate tells him he will be a star one day. After being released from prison, Elvis’ character begins his career as a musician when he meets the lovely Peggy Van Alden, played by Judy Tyler! Peggy works for a record company and sees talent in the man. Eventually the pair couple up at the end of the movie!
Judy Tyler got her big break when she got cast as Elvis Preseley’s love interest in the famous film. Elvis Presley and Judy Tyler met on set in 1957. The two actors hit it off right away and got to work on their upcoming film. During their time creating the film, the pair grew very close to each other and developed a true friendship Though her role in the movie was relatively small, Elvis fought producers to get Judy more screen time. Judy appreciated Elvis for his courage and his help in advancing her career. Many people suggest that there was some kind of romantic fling between the actors, but that has never been confirmed.
Over the years, Elvis had acquired a reputation as a ladies man who frequently became romantically involved with his co-stars. There are no reports of a romantic involvement between the pair, besides Judy’s husband banned from the film set for being disruptive. Supposedly, Judy’s husband was not a big fan of the romantic scenes filmed between the stars.
After finishing production of Jailhouse Rock, Elvis and Judy forced to part ways.
When Elvis asked Judy where she headed after filming wrapped up, she had a quick response! Judy and her husband had just rented an apartment in New York City. The couple had only been married for 4 months and they eager to start their life together. Judy expressed her love for the city and her excitement to live in her fancy new apartment.
Though Elvis was sad to see her go, he also had plans for his future. Elvis was an up and coming star with money to spend. Elvis was the new owner of a mansion in Memphis, Tennessee! At the time, the 14 acre property only cost $102,000 with a down payment of just $1000 dollars.
Just days after wrapping on the set of Jailhouse Rock Elvis Presley boarded a train to Memphis and Judy and her husband set out on their road trip to The Big Apple.
Judy and her husband were driving through the dark roads of Wyoming at night when a car pulled out in front of Greg Lafayette, Judy’s husband; forcing him to swerve into oncoming traffic.
The couple’s car hit from the side; killing Greg Lafayette immediately, Sadly, Judy passed away in the hospital the following morning. Judy just 24 years old when she tragically killed in the accident. News of her death shocked fans nationwide.
When Judy passed, Elvis was a broken man. The 22 year old star had an extremely difficult time coping with the loss of his newly acquired friend. Supposedly, Elvis asked his buddy, George Klein, to drive around with him the day after her death. Elvis drove around town for hours trying to cope with the loss. George said that all Elvis could talk about how good of a person Judy was and that he couldn’t believe she was gone.
In a public interview, Elvis stated that nothing had ever hurt him as bad in his life as the loss of Judy. Many report that Elvis never even watched the movie they had made together because it would hurt too much. Elvis considered going to Judy’s funeral but decided against it as to not cause a disruption.
Jailhouse Rock proved to be a huge hit in Hollywood, but sadly Judy would not be alive to read the raving reviews. It is no doubt that Judy would have been an even bigger star if she had lived.
Judy Tyler’s life taken far too young. Jailhouse rock released 4 months after her death, and it was a massive success. In fact, the movie is in the top 5 of Elvis’ most profitable films ever. The talented actress on the fast track to international fame when her and her husband killed. Many fans of the film found it haunting to watch a movie in which they knew the lead actress had just passed. Others see the film as a memoir to her undying talent and stunning beauty.
Since her passing, many questions have raised about the true nature of the relationship between Judy Tyler and Elvis Presley. We want to know what you think about the relationship between the co-stars! Did Elvis and Judy have a romance off screen? Or were they just good friends? Let us know what you think below and be sure to like this video. Click the bell icon below to stay up to date with FactsVerse.