Lester Tremayne, one of the best known voices of radio’s golden age, died on Dec. 19 from heart failure. He was 90.
Born in England, Tremayne and his family moved to Chicago when he was four years old. As a child, he learned to hide his British accent to avoid getting beaten up by bullies. During the Depression, his father forced him to drop out of high school and find a job. So Tremayne became an actor, taking roles in community theater plays and dancing in vaudeville before moving to radio in 1930.
His big break came in 1936 when he replaced Don Ameche as the debonair, leading man on “The First Nighter,” a weekly program of original half-hour radio dramas that were recorded in front of a live audience in Chicago and broadcast to theatre patrons in New York City just before the opening of new plays on Broadway.
For the next six decades, Tremayne found steady acting gigs in radio, television and film. He once estimated that he had worked on more than 30,000 broadcasts, playing lead roles in radio shows like “The Falcon,” “The Adventures of the Thin Man” and “One Man’s Family.” Tremayne made guest appearances on “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” ” Shazam!” “The Dukes of Hazard” and “General Hospital.” He did voice work for cartoons like “Mr. Magoo”