Julia Meade

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.

Julia Meade
Julia Meade Kunz

(1925-12-17)December 17, 1925
Boston, Massachusetts
DiedMay 16, 2016(2016-05-16) (aged 90)
Manhattan, New York
Alma materYale School of Drama
Spouse(s)Oliver Worsham Rudd, Jr.
Children2 daughters

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."[1]

She moved with her family to Ridgewood, New Jersey when she was 10 years old and later graduated from the Yale School of Drama.[2] Meade went to New York City and was hired as a model in 1948.


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".[2] 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".[3]

Meade and Zachary Scott were co-hosts of Spotlight Playhouse, a summer anthology program on CBS in 1959.[4] In 1969-1971, Meade hosted the syndicated program Ask Julia Meade, a daily broadcast "in which she answered ... letters from the viewers"[5] about family matters. In the mid-1970s, she had another syndicated program, Julia Meade and Friends, on cable television.[6] She was a regular on Club Embassy on NBC in 1952[7] and on The Dennis James Show on ABC, 1952-1954.[7]:251 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.[8] 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.[9]

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.[10]


Meade appeared on film in the 1959 movie Pillow Talk, 1961's Tammy Tell Me True and in Presumed Innocent in 1990.[2]


Mead won the 1962-1963 Sarah Siddons Award for her performance in Mary, Mary.[11]


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.[2]



  1. "Julia Meade in 'Mary, Mary' At the Playhouse This Week". Traverse City Record-Eagle. Michigan, Traverse City. July 18, 1966. p. 1. Retrieved July 10, 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  2. Roberts, Sam. "Julia Meade, TV Pitchwoman on 'Ed Sullivan,' Dies at 90", The New York Times, May 18, 2016. Accessed May 19, 2016.
  3. Nachman, Gerald. Right Here on Our Stage Tonight!: Ed Sullivan's America, p. 205. Accessed May 19, 2016. "The seductive member of Sullivan's TV family was its fetching Lincoln saleswoman, Julia Meade -- part auto dealer, part chic sexpot, as she extolled the sensuous virtues of the new 1961 Lincoln."
  4. "Network Sales Activity" (PDF). Television Digest. June 15, 1959. p. 8. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  5. Erickson, Hal (1989). Syndicated Television: The First Forty Years, 1947-1987. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 0-7864-1198-8. P. 159.
  6. "Julia Meade Prefers TV". The Robesonian. North Carolina, Lumberton. February 10, 1974. p. 25. Retrieved July 10, 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  7. Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7. P. 195.
  8. "(Julia Meade search)". Playbill Vault. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  9. Holloway, Tony (July 4, 1965). "Julia's Not Ed's Niece, But She's on Sullivan Stage". The Pantagraph. Illinois, Bloomington. p. 16.
  10. "Guild Into Mail-Order" (PDF). Broadcasting. June 14, 1969. p. 4. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  11. "Awardees". Sarah Siddons Society. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.