by Lorie Lewis Ham
This Valley is blessed with talent of all kinds, and we at KRL enjoy showcasing some of that talent. This week we are profiling Jim Tuck, who has been in the public eye for many years, not only on stage as an actor, but on the radio, in TV commercials, and more. While he hasn’t been on stage in awhile, it’s still common to hear his voice on TV and radio.
Born in Compton, California, Jim’s family moved to Fresno when he was only two. Jim attended Roosevelt High School, Fresno Pacific, and then was a PE major at Fresno State. His love of acting began in high school, when he was the president of the drama club. However, after high school he took 20 years off from the stage.
In 1993, he came back to the stage in Children’s Playhouse production of The Diary of Anne Frank, where he played Anne’s father, Otto. “I discovered I really enjoyed acting, and by that time had enough life experiences to draw from to bring characters to life,” shared Jim. “Then in 1994 I got cast in A Few Good Men at 2nd Space Theater and many amazing theater experiences followed with Good Company Players.”Some of the roles Jim has played in GCP shows are Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady (which was a dream role), Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman, Mr. Roberts in Mr. Roberts, Captain Queeg in Caine Mutiny Court Martial, Howard Bevins in Picnic, Horace in The Little Foxes, and in 2008 he was in Tuesdays With Morrie. He has also done some shows with Theatre Ventoux and Broken Leg Stage.
“Jim is fabulous to work with,” said Laurie Pessano of GCP. “Always prepared, always on time, and hugely talented. He makes his fellow actors look better because he’s a very generous performer and is all in which allows them to stay all in.”
“I’ve worked with Jim, twice now,” shared local actor and director Greg Taber. “Once in a staged reading of Hamlet for Woodward Shakespeare Festival, where he played Claudius, and then in Theatre Ventoux’s production of 12 Angry Men where he played the antagonist. In reflecting on both occasions, there are two words that come to mind: gentleman and professional.”
Actress Tessa Cavalletto has worked with Jim on several occasions. “Jim is an ‘I can do that’ kind of guy. He loves to learn and laugh! We’ve always had a great time performing together!”
Jim stated that he really has never had a favorite type of show to act in, as he loves all kinds. “I love finding a character and communicating that person. I love working with committed actors. Notice I didn’t say I love working with great actors, although I do. If a person, almost regardless of talent, is passionate about the work and gives their best effort, I enjoy working with them.”
“He is creative, lovable, dramatic, considerate and consciences as an actor and a person,” stated local actor and director, S. Eric Day. “Working with Jim is always an honor.”
Jim’s first job in radio was in 1975 at KRDU, a Christian station in Dinuba. His duties at the time included reading the afternoon news, making commercials and hosting a music show. After about 18 months, he was promoted to News Director. “It didn’t take long to realize this was not my cup of tea, so I left radio and spent a year in an outside sales career. At the end of that year, I got a call from Jim Patterson and Dennis Klassen asking if I had any interest in managing KSPD, a station they had just purchased in Boise, Idaho. I took that job and worked in Boise for four years. ”
Next Jim took a job as Director of Music and Sports at Memorial Baptist Church back in Fresno. He returned to radio in 1986 at 98.9FM in Dinuba, the then new sister station to KRDU. He left 98.9 to manage KRDU, again, right back where he began, eventually leaving when Clear Channel took over the stations. He also worked briefly for KCIV in Modesto.
“Jim is a very talented actor and has a terrific speaking voice, but when I think of Jim, I think more of the fun we had working together at KJOY (98.9) and KRDU back in the 80s and 90s,” shares radio producer Larry Ham. “Jim’s sense of humor is, well, hilarious, and we had a lot of laughs back then. He took his job seriously, but always knew how to have fun and laugh. Working with him was one of the highlights of my broadcasting career.”
In 1991, Jim decided to try his hand at voice over work. “I went to Jeff Hall at Maximus Media and asked him to produce a demo tape for me. Well, he did so much more than that. Then I went to the Yellow Pages and started calling Ad Agencies.”
It only took about two weeks before Jim started getting calls and he has been doing voice work ever since. The voice work also opened doors for him to be on camera. “I was the TV Spokesman for Blue Shield of California for three years, for example.”
“Jim Tuck has been an icon as a top voice actor in Central California for decades and his reputation is well deserved,” shared Jeff Hall of Maximus Media. “When he ventured into stage and video acting years ago, the move was natural and he carried the same great enthusiasm and expertise into that arena. It is always a joy to work with him and to top it all off, he is a heck of a great guy!”
Since retiring from radio about 12 years ago, Jim’s life has pretty much been freelance voice work. He has also worked with his wife, Sharon, in Real Estate and is Conference Coordinator for Inspiration Cruises and Tours doing 4-6 cruises per year. “And I get paid for it,” said Jim. “How cool is that?” His other jobs have included church administrator, choir director, briefly a shoe salesman, and at Hume Lake Christian Camps.
While he has had a Talent Manager and Agent, and made a run at the “big time” with some success, Jim realized he would need to relocate to a major market and get more training and exposure to increase his visibility and marketability to make that a career. “I’m not willing to leave my life here…family and friends…to make that happen. So, I hope to continue to work locally and just continue to enjoy doing what I do.”
The acting bug seems to run in the family as Jim’s wife Sharon also did some shows at the old Fresno Children’s Playhouse. “She kind of got the ball started actually,” shared Jim. “Our sons, Jeff and Dave also performed with FCP. Jeff also performed in some GCP productions after college and did excellent work. Dave was on the Forensics team at Fresno High School and twice was California State Champion in Humorous Interpretation. He then competed for Fresno State as a Freshman and took 2nd at the NCAA Tournament.”
Since he retired from radio, Jim’s freelance lifestyle means that he can’t commit 13 weeks for a show anymore. “I just don’t know when something that comes with a paycheck might pop up and away I go. I do miss theater, but I have other outlets for acting available to me.”One of those most recent acting outlets was a role in a short film that will be presented to TV networks as an idea for a series. “I’ve seen one cut of a trailer and I thought it looked pretty good.” He also recently auditioned for Alan Autry’s new movie, and of course if you keep an ear open you never know when you will hear that familiar voice on TV and radio.
In his spare time, Jim enjoys maintaining a modicum of fitness and an occasional trout fishing event. He also enjoys spending as much time as he can with his family. “Having nine grandkids in the area consumes a certain amount of my time and energy…thankfully!”
You can find more theatre articles, and other entertainment articles, in our Arts & Entertainment section.