Obituary: Tedi Thurman / Radio show weather girl with sultry voice
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At 5-foot-7, with sea-blue eyes, flowing red hair, chiseled cheeks and a shapely figure, Tedi Thurman was a stunner. But it was her breathy, alluring voice that brought her fame.
The "weather girl" on the long-running NBC radio show "Monitor" in the late 1950s and early '60s, Ms. Thurman would take over the mike and in soft, sultry tones -- with lush music in the background -- virtually drawl, "Cleveland, 34, snow; Boston, 41, cloudy; Phoenix, 62, fair; New York City, 43, sunny; Paris, 38, cloudy."
But she would always lead with Atlanta, "because Georgia was her home state," said Dennis Hart, the author of "Monitor: The Last Great Radio Show" (2002), a history of the program, which Pat Weaver, the president of NBC, created in 1955. Starting at 8 a.m. on Saturdays, it originally stayed on the air till midnight on Sundays.
Ms. Thurman, who died Sept. 17 at 89, made the forecasts "sound like an irresistible invitation to an unforgettable evening," Jack Gould wrote in The New York Times shortly after the show's premiere.
In Mr. Hart's estimation, Ms. Thurman "probably became the most recognizable female voice in the country within a few short months."
With hosts like Dave Garroway, Hugh Downs, Frank Blair, Gene Rayburn, Henry Morgan and Bill Cullen, "Monitor" was a hit, offering an array of news, sports, comedy, variety, music and live remote pickups from around the nation and the world. It lasted 20 years, the first six of which featured Ms. Thurman as Miss Monitor, who updated the weather hour after hour.
In 1957, while working virtually around the weekend clock on radio, Ms. Thurman was also a television regular, spoofing herself on Jack Paar's "Tonight Show."
In sleek dresses and high heels, she would saucily deliver lines like:
"I know what you want. You want me to tell you about the weather. In New York it's 74. And me, I'm 36-26-36."
Dorothy Ruth Thurman (she later took the name Tedi) was born in Midville, Ga., on June 23, 1923, one of four children of Ben and Para Thurman. Her father was president of the local bank.
She wanted to be an artist and studied at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and Design in Washington. But, she told Mr. Hart, "People were always painting me, telling me I should become a model."
Soon after moving to New York, she was on the covers of Vogue and Cosmopolitan and appearing on television shows like "Studio One." That led to her audition for "Monitor."
If Ms. Thurman's fame was brief, it had a long afterlife. "Tedi told me," Mr. Hart said, "that decades after she'd left the show, people at parties and gatherings would still ask her to do the weather in that sexy Miss Monitor voice."
She died at her home in Palm Springs, Calif., after a brief illness, Mr. Hart said.
First Published September 22, 2012 12:00 am