This story was published in Radio Recall, the journal of the Metropolitan Washington Old-Time Radio Club, published six times per year.
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(From Radio Recall, August 2004)
SAM EDWARDS DIES IN COLORADO AT AGE 89
Veteran OTR star, Sam Edwards, died in Durango, CO of heart failure on Tuesday morning July 28, 2004 at the age of 89. He was surrounded by his wife, children, and brother, Jack.
Sam grew up in show business with his family, a touring company called "The Five Edwards" who did radio and vaudeville work throughout the
Southwest. He and his brother, Jack, were on several radio series together, some of which were written by his mother. Later Sam played "Tracy" on One Man's Family, "Morris" on Dr. Kate, and his most famous role, "Dexter" on Corliss Archer. His voice can be heard on most of the drama shows of the 40s and 50s including Dragnet and Ft. Laramie. He also was cast in several action movies, as well as the serials: he was "Chuck" in Columbia's chapter film, "Captain Midnight."
In past years, Sam and his wife Beverly were frequent guests at OTR conventions, including FOTR in Newark and REPS in Seattle. In 2002 Sam entertained the MWOTRC at our monthly meeting with a wonderful review of his career. His last public appearance was at the REPS convention this summer.
Bill Edwards, his son, requests that expressions of sympathy can be forwarded to him at email@example.com or mailed to his mother, Beverly Edwards, 457 Highland Hill Drive, Durango, CO 81301. Beverly has requested, in lieu of flowers, that donations in Sam's memory be made to REPS and they will use the funds to bring OTR guests to future conventions. These donations can be sent to REPS c/o Frank Rosin, 9811 NE 139th St., Kirkland WA 98034. Please indicate that your donation is in Sam Edwards' memory.
JACKSON BECK DIES IN MANHATTAN, AGE 92
A gravely voiced actor, with a generosity that belied his gruff exterior , died in New York City on July 28th, just five days after attaining his 92nd birthday. Jackson Beck, the announcer and narrator on The Adventures of Superman, was in the radio and voice-over business for over 60 years. He died in the city in which he was born.
Although his father opposed Jackson’s choice of a career, he persisted in pursuing radio jobs, and by the 1930s, was supporting himself with modest earnings at the microphone. Over many years, his talent and ambition elevated his earning to enviable heights, as he went from show to show, and also voiced one radio and TV commercial after another.
Jackson was self-taught in his chosen progression; after high school, he worked as an elevator operator and a runner on the NY Stock Exchange. But he kept making the rounds of every station in town to find radio work. By the 40s, he was all over the dial, in the soaps, kids’ adventure shows, anthologies, westerns, and crime programs. He played the title leads in The Cisco Kid, Philo Vance, and Brady Kaye. His voice was heard regularly on several other series, including The March of Time, Hop Harrigan, Life Can Be Beautiful, The Shadow, Myrt & Marge and Grand Central Station.
His booming voice, emanating from a 5 ft. 3 stocky physique, made him a popular announcer, not only on Superman, but also Tom Corbett and Mark Trail. He was sought after by animated cartoons, doing Bluto in Popeye and well as many voices in King Leonardo plus Tennessee Tuxedo.
A founding member of the radio actors’ union, AFRA (since renamed AFTRA), he served on its national board. He shared his large earnings over the years with out-of-work radio and TV people and other friends, never wanting to be repaid. His long term agent, Fifi Oscard, said of him: “He had a very gruff, blood-and-guts exterior, but was one of the kindest, sweetest men in the world.”
He probably made almost as much money in voice-overs in commercials that he made in dramatic radio. Beck voiced those of Brawny Paper Towels, G.I. Joe, Pepsi, Frosted Flakes, Ex-Lax, Combat Roach Killer, Little Caesar’s Pizza,and countless others. He told a national magazine in 1990: “My job is to sell a carload of whatever the hell it is....I treat my voice as a business. People who treat it as art don’t make money.”
Jackson was one of the first big stars to come to the FOTR Convention, many years ago when it was held in Connecticut. After it moved to Newark, he continued to attend and participate on a regular basis until the last few years when illness prevented him from coming.
Beck was married twice; both wives died, the second one, Bernice, in 1986. He was survived by one son, Leslie, also of Manhattan.