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Grainy trade publication photo from 1938
Jeanne Martel
Real name:
Ethel Jeanne Pezoldt
or
Jeanne Ethel Pezoldt
1915 - 1980


The brief Hollywood career of Jeanne Martel consisted of about a half dozen mid to late 1930s B grade films. And she did westerns with Tom Tyler and was Tyler's wife.

Ethel Jeanne Pezoldt - or Jeanne Ethel Pezoldt - was born in 1915 in Allentown, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania to Jack Pezoldt and May V. Wentz. Her mother re-married and she and Jeanne moved to the Los Angeles area circa 1928.

Jeanne was the heroine in a trio of Tom Tyler oaters - SANTA FE BOUND (Reliable, 1936), ORPHAN OF THE PECOS (Victory, 1937), and LOST RANCH (Victory, 1937). She was in her early twenties and there's no biographical info on why she pursued an acting career.

She and Tyler tied the knot in 1937, and the September 4, 1937 Los Angeles (California) Times newspaper had a marriage photo and announcement. The formal ceremony was September 3, 1937 at the Little Church of the Flowers in Los Angeles, and Jeanne wore a gown and Tyler was in a tux. Best man was Tom's agent, William Mieklejohn, and ushers were Tom's brother, Frank Tyler and B western writer/director Oliver Drake. (Link to view the photo and article is further down this webpage.)

The September 4, 1937 Allentown, Pennsylvania Morning Call newspaper had coverage of hometown girl Ethel Pezoldt - now known as actress Jeanne Martel - and her marriage to Tom Tyler. Excerpts:

"Christened Ethel Pezoldt, Miss Martel was born in Allentown (Pennsylvania), a daughter of Mrs. Edward Everett Lauderback, now of Pasadena, Calif., through a former marriage with John Pezoldt of this city. She was reared in Allentown and attended the local public schools. When she was 13, the family moved to Pasadena, where she completed her education." ; "Her mother was formerly Miss May Wentz, of this city." (Link to view the full article is further down this webpage.)

Right is a tradepaper article from November, 1937 about the filming of LOST RANCH noting their September, 1937 marriage.

Jeanne retired from films around the time that Tyler exited Sam Katzman's Victory films and toured with the Wallace Bros. Circus.

General consensus is that Jeanne and Tom's marriage was brief. Am unsure when they divorced, but they were together at the time of the 1940 census.

There was another marriage for Jeanne - California Death Index and Social Security Death Index (SSDI) have records for Jeanne E. Nelson, born March 1, 1915 in Pennsylvania, and passed away April 24, 1980 in the Ventura, California area. Her father's last name was Pezoldt and her mother's maiden name was Wentz.

Jeanne's later years remains a mystery.

Did not find a death / funeral notice at newspapers.com or the newspaper archive ... and no interment info on her at Find A Grave ... and no blurb on their divorce in trade publications.

And I was surprised at the lack of info on her in family trees at ancestry.com.

Mike Chapman and Bobby Copeland's book on the life and career of Tom Tyler was published in 2005 and is out of print. Includes a mention of Jeanne and Tom's love affair. Tyler family members were aware of their breakup but had no specifics on their divorce date.


Above - screen capture of Jeanne Martel from Tom Tyler's ORPHAN OF THE PECOS (Victory, 1937).



(Courtesy of Les Adams)
from November 22, 1937 Film Daily



(Courtesy of Bruce Hickey)

Tyler with Jeanne Martel - a happy moment for the future husband and wife. Still from SANTA FE BOUND (Reliable, 1936), the last of Tyler's eighteen films for Bernard B. Ray and Harry S. Webb's Reliable Pictures production company. Tom then starred in an eight film series for producer Sam Katzman's Victory Pictures company.

Tyler was about a dozen years older than Jeanne - he was born in 1903 and she in 1915.


  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Jeanne Martel: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0551494/

Many of Tyler's westerns are public domain and are available on YouTube and the Internet Archive (including several with wife Jeanne Martel):
   Tyler films on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%22tom+tyler%22&lclk=long&filters=long
   Tyler films at the Internet Archive: https://archive.org/search.php?query=%22tom%20tyler%22%20AND%20collection%3Amoviesandfilms

The Family Search website (free) and newspapers.com (subscription) have information on Tyler and wife Jeanne Martel:

Whatever happened to Jeanne Martel? The marriage license of Tyler and Jeanne Martel-Pezoldt has her born in Pennsylvania, father's last name was Pezoldt, mother was May V. Wentz, and she was 21 years old when she married Tyler (which equates to a circa 1916 birth year). Family Search and newspapers.com had more on her:

In summary - Jeanne Martel, actress and one-time wife of Tom Tyler, was really Ethel Jeanne Pezoldt or Jeanne Ethel Pezoldt.



(Courtesy of Bruce Hickey)

Jeanne Martel tends to the injured Tom Tyler. The older lady in the center may be Dorothy Wood. From SANTA FE BOUND (Reliable, 1936).



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Lobby card from SANTA FE BOUND (Reliable, 1936). From left to right are Charles 'Slim' Whitaker, Jack Hendricks, Tyler, Ed Cassidy (mustache) and Dick Cramer. Cramer was the brains heavy in this ... and he was billed third as "Richard Kramer" (with a K). In the photo inset on the right are leading lady Jeanne Martel, Tom Tyler, and Earl Dwire. See crop/blowup below.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above are Jeanne Martel, Tom Tyler, and Earl Dwire in a crop from that SANTA FE BOUND lobby card.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from left to right are Charles 'Slim' Whitaker (without his normal mustache), Tom Tyler, Jeanne Martel, Ted Lorch, and on the ground is Forrest Taylor. Scene from Tyler's ORPHAN OF THE PECOS (Victory, 1937). In this, Forrest Taylor was the brains heavy and Ted Lorch portrayed a "snake-oil salesman". Crop/blowup of Tyler and Martel shown below.






Thrifty Sam Katzman was the boss of Victory Pictures, and saved a few bucks by re-using the same poster for LOST RANCH (Victory, 1937) and ORPHAN OF THE PECOS (Victory, 1937). Wonder if these were filmed back-to-back as cast members in both included Forrest Taylor, Lafe McKee, 'Slim' Whitaker, Ted Lorch, Roger Williams, Howard Bryant, and Tyler's wife Jeanne Martel. Katzman directed both films.


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