Juanita Jean "Jeannie" Walden, a former NBC radio producer who appeared on local stages, died of acute vascular failure Tuesday at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson. The Village of Cross Keys resident was 84.
Born Juanita Jean Houston in Lenoir, N.C., she earned a bachelor's degree in English and drama at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she also received a teaching certificate. She worked at WSJS television and radio in Winston-Salem, N.C.
In 1955, she joined NBC Radio in New York City and worked on its "Monitor" weekend program. She became a pioneering woman director at the network. Family members said she directed coverage at the United Nations during 1967's Six-Day War in the Middle East. She later headed on-air promotions for the NBC network from 1967 to 1984.
After moving to Baltimore in 1988, she appeared in F. Scott Black's Dinner Theater productions of "Show Boat," "Damn Yankees" and "The Odd Couple." She also appeared in a benefit performance of "Love Letters."
She also entertained passengers on Clipper Cruise Line ships on the Intracoastal Waterway and on Holland-America cruises.
She appeared for many years in Civil War dress on Memorial Day at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens.
She was active in the Veterans Bedside Network, an organization of persons in the broadcast field who entertain hospitalized veterans.
A life celebration will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Roland Park Presbyterian Church, 4801 Roland Ave.
Survivors include her husband of 38 years, Alan Walden. a retired WBAL Radio anchor who ran as a Republican candidate for Baltimore mayor last year; a stepson, Jonathan Walden of Marysville, Wash.; a stepdaughter, Aileen Walden of Las Vegas; and a brother, John Barr Houston III of Matthews, N.C.