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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OBITUARIES: TIPPY STRINGER, THOMAS DELONG
(From Radio Recall, December 2010)
Tippy Stringer, age 80, died in Los Angeles on October 1st at her home. Although she rose to fame in Washington, DC as TV's beautiful "Weather Girl" in the 50s, she was also known for her famous husbands. She married prominent broadcaster Chet Huntley in 1959. He is now remembered primarily for his work on television with David Brinkley on NBC's Huntley-Brinkley Report from 1956 until 1970. But he was a successful radio newscaster before his TV years.
Huntley was on the air in Seattle, Spokane and Portland before working at KFI in Los Angeles from 1937 to 1939. He next worked for KNX radio in Hollywood and on various CBS news programs. By 1943, he was also doing a 10-minute news analysis program on CBS Pacific Coast radio stations. He stayed with KNX and CBS West Coast until 1951, when he next worked at KECA radio and television in Hollywood (ABC network.) Mr. Huntley left ABC for NBC-TV in 1955 as a West Coast reporter for The Today Show. NBC then brought him to New York, pairing him with Brinkley.
David Brinkley had introduced Tippy to Huntley and after their marriage, they lived in New York City. They retired to Montana in 1970, his home state, where he died in 1974.
In 1980 Tippy met and married William "Bill" Conrad, an OTR star of Gunsmoke and Escape, who was then acting on TV. (He had been widowed in 1977.) In Los Angeles, Tippy managed Conrad's career, including his role in the CBS show, Jake and the Fatman. Conrad died in 1994, leaving Tippy a widow again.
Lewis Tipton Stringer was born in 1930 in Illinois and her family later moved to Chevy Chase, MD. She was accepted at William and Mary College and assigned to a men's dorm, based upon her name. Instead she chose to attend the University of Maryland and changed her first name to "Tippy" to prevent further confusion.
In college she went from Homecoming Queen to Miss Summer Jubilee to Queen of the Seabees and many other honorary titles in beauty contests. She became well known in DC for her television roles, hosting cooking shows and later becoming the "Weather Girl" at WRC-TV. While in that job, she also was a singer at the Shoreham Hotel's swanky Blue Room. Life magazine featured her in a special article in 1955.
She ran, unsuccessfully for Congress in 1978 as a candidate from Montana. Tippy had no children; survivors include a brother.
Thomas A. DeLong died July 12th at age 75. He was truly, in the words of that revered adage, "a gentleman and a scholar."
For several years, vintage history fans have relied upon two of Tom’s OTR reference books on a regular basis: Quiz Craze: America's Infatuation with Game Shows (Praeger, 1991) and Radio Stars: An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary of 953 Performers, 1920 Through 1960 (McFarland, 1996.)
Your editor met Tom several times at FOTR convention in Newark and was struck by his love for OTR research, his humility, and his gentleness. In our hobby, which frequently attracts the loud and boisterous, Tom was a quiet, dedicated figure and a tribute to "speak softly." As former Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the Westport (CT) School of Music and author of over a dozen well-researched books, he had plenty to brag about, but never did.
In addition to the two books on radio of Tom's mentioned above he also wrote one on Frank Munn and five others: Pops: Paul Whiteman, KIng of Jazz, The Mighty Music Box, The Telephone Hour: A Retrospective and The Golden Age of Musical Radio.
We should all be sorry for his death but grateful for his enormous contributions to the hobby. His death marks the third OTR author who has passed away in the past year; the other two were Jim Harmon and Ron Lackmann.