Jailhouse Rock, 1957
Real Name: Judith Hess
Judy began her show business career on the "Howdy Doody" TV show, at the age of seventeen. She appeared in the Rodgers and Hammerstein play, Pipe Dream, before starring in her first film, Bop Girl Goes Calypso, with Bobby Troup, the songwriter who wrote "Route 66". I sat through this one not long ago, and it's pretty bad. There's some genuine calypso performances, though (especially that Lord Flea!), if that's your idea of a good time. Judy's performances, however, make one lurch for the fast-forward button, although I'm not sure that's really her singing. Check out the link section below if you really must learn more about it (and, yes, you must!).
The same year, 1957, she began work on her second and final film. She would play Peggy Van Alden, the young record promoter who takes Vince Everett (Elvis) under her wing. She gets to deliver one of the classic lines from the film: "I like the way you swing a guitar!" Mostly, though, the audience just wonders why her classy character ever bothers with Vince, who seems to go out of his way to treat her badly. But, of course, in these early rock films, a woman's supposed to love her rebel no matter what, in the hopes that she will melt his cold heart and in the end, get him to sing "Young And Beautiful".
Judy Tyler's sudden death in a car accident came just as Jailhouse Rock was set to be released. After completing filming of the Presley movie, she and her second husband, Greg Lafayette, took a vacation. While driving through Wyoming, they were involved in an automobile accident on U.S. Route 287, just north of Rock River, Wyoming, that claimed both their lives. In a strange turn of events Tyler and Pipe Dream co-star William Johnson both died of injuries sustained in car accidents the same year.
Judy Tyler's cremated remains are in the Private Family Room of her husband in the mausoleum in Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.
Elvis' friends say that Elvis would never watch the film after that because he was so saddened by her death.