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Julia Meade (1925 - 2016)

A photo of Julia Meade
Julia Meade
1925 - 2016
Born
December 17, 1925
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States
Death
May 16, 2016
New York, New York, United States
Other Names
Julia Meade (Kunz), Julia Rudd, (Meade)
Summary
Julia Meade of Manhattan County, New York was born on December 17, 1925 in Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts United States, and died at age 90 years old on May 16, 2016 in New York, New York.
Updated: February 6, 2021
Biography ID: 128428885

Julia Meade's Biography

Family, friend, or fan this Collaborative Biography is for you to show & tell Julia's life so that she is always remembered.
About Julia

Introduction

Julia Meade
This article is about the American actress. For the film character, see Mission: Impossible (film series).
Julia Meade
Born Julia Meade Kunz
December 17, 1925
Boston, Massachusetts
Died May 16, 2016 (aged 90)
Manhattan, New York
Nationality American
Alma mater Yale School of Drama
Occupation Actress
Spouse Oliver Worsham Rudd, Jr.
Children 2 daughters
Julia Meade Kunz (December 17, 1925 – May 16, 2016) was an American film and stage actress who was a frequent pitch person in live commercials in the early days of television in the 1950s.
Early years
Meade was born in Boston[1] on December 17, 1925; her father sold typewriters and her mother was Carolyn Meade, who was "the leading lady with Walter Hampden from 1923 to 1933."[
She moved with her family to Ridgewood, New Jersey when she was 10 years old and later graduated from the Yale School of Drama. Meade went to New York City and was hired as a model in 1948.
Television
Meade came to public attention in 1953 as the public face of the Lincoln division of the Ford Motor Company. She did live commercials on The Ed Sullivan Show for such products as Kodak cameras and Life magazine for years, earning recognition from TV Guide as the "favorite salesgirl" of the program's host. Meade told Life magazine in 1960 that "I tackle commercials as though I were playing the queen in Hamlet". Meade's pitch work involved doing live commercials that ran for up to five minutes, becoming most closely associated with her promotions of Lincoln automobiles, with her work for the car company described by Gerald Nachman as "part auto dealer, part chic sexpot".
Meade and Zachary Scott were co-hosts of Spotlight Playhouse, a summer anthology program on CBS in 1959. In 1969-1971, Meade hosted the syndicated program Ask Julia Meade, a daily broadcast "in which she answered ... letters from the viewers" about family matters. In the mid-1970s, she had another syndicated program, Julia Meade and Friends, on cable television. She was a regular on Club Embassy on NBC in 1952 and on The Dennis James Show on ABC, 1952-1954.
She also was a host of Playhouse 90 and appeared as a panelist on What's My Line? and Get the Message.
Meade's work on Broadway included the 1954 production of The Tender Trap, Mary, Mary in 1962 and The Front Page in 1969. She also appeared in Roman Candle and Double in Hearts. After playing the lead in Mary, Mary for six weeks on Broadway, she went with the play's national company and acted the role for a year in Chicago, Illinois.
In 1969, Meade was a member of the cast of The Front Page that was featured on a record album produced by the Theatre Guild for mail-order distribution.
Film
Meade appeared on film in the 1959 movie Pillow Talk, 1961's Tammy Tell Me True and in Presumed Innocent in 1990.
Recognition
Meade won the 1962-1963 Sarah Siddons Award for her performance in Mary, Mary.
Death
Meade died at the age of 90 on May 16, 2016, in her home in Manhattan. She was married to Oliver Worsham Rudd, Jr., a commercial illustrator, from 1952 until his death in 1999. They had two daughters.
Filmography
Presumed Innocent (1990) as Moderator
My First Love (TV movie) (1988) as Chris Townsend
Zotz! (1962) as Prof. Virginia Fenster
Tammy Tell Me True (1961) as Suzanne Rook
Pillow Talk (1959) as Marie
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Julia Meade
Most commonly known as
Julia Meade
Full legal name
Julia Meade (Kunz), Julia (Meade) Rudd,
Other names or aliases

Name & aliases

Manhattan County, New York
Last place lived

Last residence

December 17, 1925
Birthday
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts United States
Birth location

Birth details

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Ethnicity & Family History

She was married to Oliver Worsham Rudd, Jr., a commercial illustrator, from 1952 until his death in 1999. They had two daughters.

Nationality & Locations

Where was Julia born and where did she live?

Education

Yale School of Drama.

Religion

dd/mm/yyyy
Baptism date
Unknown
Place of worship

Baptism date & location

Was Julia a religious woman?

Professions

Famous television personality with Ed Sullivan's show. Julia was also a film, television and theater actress.

Personal Life

Julia was very active in theater for most of her life. Julia Meade, an actress who worked in film and theater and was well-known as a television commercial pitchwoman, died May 16 at her home in New York, New York, according to multiple news sources. She was 90. Peter Thorpe of the Julia Meade Fan Club announced the death Tuesday. In a post on Facebook, Thorpe shared the news of Meade’s death “with all of the members of the Julia Meade Fan Club. Julia passed away yesterday at her home in New York City, peacefully while asleep. Thanks to all of you for your comments and love. Julia loved her Facebook fan club. We will continue to post photos every week here. Thanks again.” Click to get weekly celebrity death news delivered to your inbox. Meade, who was born Julia Kunz Dec. 17, 1925, in Boston, Massachusetts, started her career as a Conover model in 1948 while she sought theater roles. “The latter did not materialize,” according to a biography of the actress at juliameade.com. “Television work did, however, and Julia became one of America’s most recognized TV personalities, prompting a New York Times reviewer to describe her as America’s first household name.” Meade pitched a variety of products on TV and in newspaper and magazine advertisements, including soap, automobiles, bread, and hairspray. On Broadway, she had roles in “The Tender Trap,” “Mary, Mary,” “Roman Candles,” and a 1960s revival of “The Front Page.” She also had roles in movies including “Pillow Talk” and “Tammy Tell Me True.” Meade married artist O. Worsham Rudd Jr. May 17, 1952. He preceded her in death, in 1999. They had two daughters, Caroline and Alice, who survive the actress.

Military Service

Did Julia serve in the military or did a war or conflict interfere with her life?
May 16, 2016
Death date
Unknown
Cause of death
New York, New York United States
Death location

Death details

dd/mm/yyyy
Funeral date
Grave or burial unknown
Burial location

Gravesite & burial

Obituary

Julia Meade Dies at 90; Actress Found Leading Role as TV Pitchwoman May 18, 2016 Ms. Meade became a household name to Americans as a pitchwoman — as the elegant public face of Lincoln beginning in 1953 and as the promoter of a range of other products, including gas-powered appliances, Hudnut hair products, Life magazine and Kodak cameras. “Lincoln made her a celebrity, if not a star, the object of intense viewer interest,” Karal Ann Marling wrote in 1994 in her book “As Seen on TV: The Visual Culture of Everyday Life in the 1950s.” Ms. Meade died on Monday while watching television at her home in Manhattan, her daughter Caroline Rudd said. She was 90. Ms. Meade became a television fixture as Ed Sullivan’s “favorite salesgirl,” as TV Guide described her, on his CBS show (later called simply “The Ed Sullivan Show”) for nearly a decade. “The seductive member of Sullivan’s TV family was its fetching Lincoln saleswoman, Julia Meade — part auto dealer, part chic sexpot,” Gerald Nachman wrote in 2009 in “Right Here on Our Stage Tonight!: Ed Sullivan’s America.” Ms. Meade was not the first First Lady of Television — Faye Emerson, Arlene Francis and Lucille Ball were among the others who staked claims to that title. But she was certainly present not long after it dawned, beginning on a DuMont network station in New York in 1948. By the late 1950s, after her commercial debut on NBC’s “Embassy Club,” she had dethroned Betty Furness as TV’s leading pitchwoman. Off camera, Ms. Meade drove a flashy flamingo-pink Lincoln Premier convertible. But she attributed her success on television to “well-groomed invisibility,” aided by evening gowns with modest necklines. Not only was she “the first example of a TV personality wholly identified with a single product,” as Ms. Marling wrote, but she also appeared as a mother concerned about nutrition in what was called the first “corrective commercial,” in 1971. That homey ad was broadcast after federal regulators accused the ITT Continental Baking Company of false advertising when it claimed that its Profile bread had fewer calories than other brands. “I’d like to clear up any misunderstandings you may have about Profile bread from its advertising or even its name,” Ms. Meade told her television audience. Each slice of Profile had seven fewer calories than that of rival brands, she explained, only because it was thinner than a typical slice. Still, dietetic or not, she said, “at our house, delicious taste makes Profile a family affair.” Ms. Meade’s film career included parts in the Rock Hudson-Doris Day romantic comedy “Pillow Talk” (1959), the Sandra Dee comedy “Tammy Tell Me True” (1961) and the Harrison Ford drama “Presumed Innocent” (1990). On Broadway, she was in Max Shulman and Robert Paul Smith’s “The Tender Trap” in 1954 (John Chapman of The Daily News called her the best new actress of the year), Sidney Sheldon’s “Roman Candle” in 1960, Jean Kerr’s “Mary, Mary” in 1962 and a revival of the Ben Hecht-Charles MacArthur comedy “The Front Page” in 1969. She also starred in summer stock and appeared on television soap operas and game shows and as the hostess of “Playhouse 90.” Julia Meade Kunz was born on Dec. 17, 1925, in Boston, where her mother, Caroline Kunz (formerly Meade), a Shakespearean actress, was working at the time. Her father, Adam Kunz, was a typewriter salesman. The family lived in New York and moved to Ridgewood, N.J., when Julia was 10. After she graduated from the Yale School of Drama, Ms. Meade won her first professional role; in 1947 she played Virginia Dare’s mother in a perennial production of “The Lost Colony” in North Carolina. She went to New York in 1948 and worked as a model for the Harry Conover agency. She married Oliver Worsham Rudd Jr., a commercial illustrator. Besides her daughter Caroline, Ms. Meade is survived by another daughter, Alice Rudd Elder; two sisters, Betsy Redfield and Nancy Goodnow; and two grandchildren. Interviewed by Life magazine in 1960, Ms. Meade said that while she aspired to be a full-time actress, rather than being known primarily as a pitchwoman, “I tackle commercials as though I were playing the queen in ‘Hamlet.’” She added: “Fans don’t tear my clothes off or try to take a lock of my hair home to Junior. They stop me in the street mostly just to say hello — and that testifies that I can do something well. That’s all I ever wanted.”

Average Age & Life Expectancy

Julia Meade lived 20 years longer than the average Meade family member when she died at the age of 90.
The average age of a Meade family member is 70.
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Memories: Stories & Photos

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Julia Meade
A photo of Julia Meade.
Meade's work on Broadway included the 1954 production of The Tender Trap, Mary, Mary in 1962 and The Front Page in 1969. She also appeared in Roman Candle and Double in Hearts. After playing the lead in Mary, Mary for six weeks on Broadway, she went with the play's national company and acted the role for a year in Chicago, Illinois.

1959
Meade appeared on film in the 1959 movie Pillow Talk, 1961's Tammy Tell Me True and in Presumed Innocent in 1990.

1962
Mead won the 1962-1963 Sarah Siddons Award for her performance in Mary, Mary.

1969
In 1969, Meade was a member of the cast of The Front Page that was featured on a record album produced by the Theatre Guild for mail-order distribution.

2016
Meade died at the age of 90 on May 16, 2016, in her home in Manhattan. She was married to Oliver Worsham Rudd, Jr., a commercial Illustrator, from 1952 until his death in 1999. They had two daughters.
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Family Tree & Friends

Julia's immediate relatives including parents, siblings, partnerships and children in the Meade family tree.

Julia's Family Tree

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Parent
Julia Meade Julia Meade
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Child
Partner
Child
Sibling

Friends

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Followers & Sources
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1925 - 2016 World Events

Refresh this page to see various historical events that occurred during Julia's lifetime.

In 1925, in the year that Julia Meade was born, in July, the Scopes Trial - often called the Scopes Monkey Trial - took place, prosecuting a substitute teacher for teaching evolution in school. Tennessee had enacted a law that said it was "unlawful to teach human evolution in any state-funded school". William Jennings Bryan headed the prosecution and Clarence Darrow headed the defense. The teacher was found guilty and fined $100. An appeal to the Supreme Court of Tennessee upheld the law but overturned the guilty verdict.

In 1933, by the time she was merely 8 years old, Frances Perkins became the first woman to hold a cabinet-level position, appointed by President Roosevelt to serve as Secretary of Labor. She told him that her priorities would be a 40-hour work week, a minimum wage, unemployment compensation, worker’s compensation, abolition of child labor, direct federal aid to the states for unemployment relief, Social Security, a revitalized federal employment service, and universal health insurance. President Roosevelt approved of all of them and most them were implemented during his terms as President. She served until his death in 1945.

In 1947, when she was 22 years old, in June, the Marshall Plan was proposed to help European nations recover economically from World War II. It passed the conservative Republican Congress in March of 1948. After World War I, the economic devastation of Germany caused by burdensome reparations payments led to the rise of Hitler. The Allies didn't want this to happen again and the Marshall Plan was devised to make sure that those conditions didn't arise again.

In 1954, she was 29 years old when on May 17th, the Supreme Court released a decision on Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. The ruling stated that state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students was unconstitutional thus paving the way for integration in schools.

In 1971, by the time she was 46 years old, in March, Intel shipped the first microprocessor to Busicom, a Japanese manufacturer of calculators. The microprocessor has since allowed computers to become smaller and faster, leading to smaller and more versatile handheld devices, home computers, and supercomputers.

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