Ginny Tyler, August 8, 1925 - July 13, 2012
"One of mom’s favorite pictures, as a Mouseketeer tending the wheel of the sailing ship Columbia at Disneyland." - Ginny Tyler's family
Disney legend, KOMO’s “Mother Goose,” and West Seattle resident Ginny Tyler dies at age 86
October 27 celebration set for Kenyon Hall
Ginny Tyler, an amazing vocal talent who started her career with KOMO in Seattle and later worked for Disney in Hollywood, passed away on Friday, July 13 from natural causes at age 86, according to her son, Ty Fenton.
A celebration of her life is planned for October 27th at Kenyon Hall in West Seattle.
Merrie Virginia (Erlandson) Eggers was born on Aug. 8, 1925 in California. She grew up in Seattle and was adopted by her stepfather, Theodore Eggers, according to the Los Angeles Times. She later took the stage name Ginny Tyler.
Tyler graduated from West Seattle High School in 1943 and was inducted into the WSHS Hall of Fame in 2001. Chris King with the alumni association shared a memory from their 25th reunion: "Ginny Tyler entertained and stunned the partygoers with style and humor. One person remarked, 'Gosh, I don't remember her in school at all!' Another replied, 'Don't you remember during the Senior Play? She stood offstage and imitated a crying baby!'"
Renee Rundle with The West Seattle Herald wrote about Tyler’s blossoming career in 2005, recalling her early success in the 1950s as a children’s radio host in Oregon with a knack for creating “interesting and unusual voices.”
In 1953, Tyler landed a job as Mother Goose on Seattle’s KOMO Radio, an instant success. Two years later, she took her talents to Hollywood and began doing voice-over work in the film industry, including Walt Disney Productions. In 1962, she became Head Mouseketeer at Disneyland.
Below is a family remembrance of Ginny Tyler, as shared by her son, Ty Fenton:
Merrie Virginia Eggers (Ginny Tyler)
August 8, 1925 – July 13, 2012
Ginny passed away Friday morning July 13 at Providence Marianwood in Issaquah, Washington. A celebration of her life will be held October 27th at Kenyon Hall in West Seattle.
While Ginny was growing up near Seattle Washington her family of Native American heritage passed along the storytelling craft, as well as the imitation of animal sounds and birdcalls. Ginny’s flair with these talents first put her before the radio microphone in the 1940s. By 1951 she was hosting her own daily children's show on KOMO-TV, as Mother Goose on Magic Island. She was also getting more and more work off-screen for her vocal talents, and in 1957 Mother Goose flew south to Hollywood.
One of her first jobs after landing was playing Olive Oyl on a Spike Jones recording of I'm Popeye the Sailor Man, and work on more novelty records quickly followed. By the early 1960s, she had joined Disneyland Records as the Disneyland Storyteller, narrating beloved vinyl recordings of Bambi, Babes in Toyland, Hans Brinker, More Mother Goose, and others.
When the original Mickey Mouse Club was re-edited and repackaged for syndication in 1962, Ginny was appointed Head Mouseketeer, live from Disneyland. A Mickey Mouse Club Headquarters was constructed inside the Main Street Opera House (later home to Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln), where Ginny hosted a live 15-minute daily segment of the program. Children could also register as "Official Mouseketeers," complete with membership card, and Ginny, often in the company of Roy Williams or Jimmie Dodd was on hand for greetings and autographs.
Ginny's vocal work gradually moved from just narration to character voices for Disney: she played two amorous female squirrels in The Sword in the Stone (1963), and sang for several of the barnyard animals in the "Jolly Holiday" sequence of Mary Poppins (1964).
For other studios, Ginny was Casper the Friendly Ghost in his 1963 TV series, space-damsel Jan and the Black Widow in Space Ghost, Sue Richards in Fantastic Four, Flirtacia the Lilliputian in The Adventures of Gulliver, and all the female characters in the first thirteen episodes of Davey and Goliath.
Ginny provided the voice of Polynesia the parrot who taught the good doctor, played by Rex Harrison, how to talk to the animals in Doctor Dolittle (1967). Along with frequent Disneyland Records co-star Dallas McKennon, she provided most of the other animal voices for that musical spectacular. (Her parrot patois was also heard on The Jack Benny Show and The Lucy Show.) Ginny began teaching her craft, creating the Whimsey Works teaching young actors poise, drama, and voice. For several years, she taught Voice-Over classes at Cal-State Northridge.
Ginny performed for various charities and went on two USO tours. She was a member of the Masquer’s Club and was once Grand Marshall of the Santa Claus Lane Parade down Hollywood Boulevard. In her spare time, Ginny served on the local Boards of both performer unions: AFTRA and SAG, and was an early advocate for their merger that finally occurred this year. She also served on the Board of the American Indian Scholarship Fund and was a University of Washington Alumnae.
After retirement she returned to her hometown of Seattle, and still did occasional voice work here and there for local productions. She rekindled the Whimsey Works and added training for professional voice-over actors. In 2006 she flew back to Hollywood to be honored as a Disney Legend. Her award was presented by Roy Disney, and she was inducted along with fellow inductees Elton John and the late Peter Jennings.
Ginny’s Disney days remain the most special of her career. She often recalled the day Walt himself arrived on set. She began waxing effusive about the many beautiful aspects of the Park with Walt. "I was raving away to Walt how wonderful Disneyland was, and he said, 'And that goes for my Disneyland Storyteller, too.' “
Ginny is survived by her two brothers, Don Eggers of Carnation, WA and Terry Eggers of Seattle, WA; son Ty Fenton and his wife Patti of North Bend, WA; granddaughter Megan and her husband David Asper of Victoria BC; and grandson Michael Fenton and wife Jamie, and great grandson Matthias of Brown’s Point, WA.
The family wishes to thank the staff at Red Oak Residence in North Bend and at Providence Marianwood in Issaquah for taking good care of our Ginny.