Obituary for Jim Talmadge
shared by his daughter, Melissa Talmadge Cox.
On February 14, 2007, James Talmadge (born Joseph Talmadge Keaton) passed away peacefully with his wife of 63 years, the love of his life, Barbara Talmadge, by his side.
Born June 2, 1922, first born son of Natalie Talmadge and comedian Buster Keaton, nephew of silent screen actresses Norma and Constance Talmadge, Jim attended Blackfox Military Academy and Santa Monica High School. He joined the Coast Guard in the summer of 1942 and volunteered for the OSS as an underwater demolition expert in 1942. He served in the CIB Theatre (China/India/Burma) where he worked in a British one man submarine wearing the Lambertson Rebreather Unit. While based in Ceylon his mission was to blow up nets in Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo harbors. He trained in the Bahamas where they swam 14 hours a day. In one of his missions he went out in a hurricane to recover the bodies of tow British pilots who were shot down and trapped in their plane under water.
After the war he worked as a publicist/photographer at 20th Century Fox. He was an avid collector and expert on firearms. He also built and restored antique automobiles, especially Model T's, Model A's and boat tail speedsters. He was an expert on Duesenbergs (he owned 8) and was often consulted for his knowledge on their history and restoration. He spent many years of his life with family and friends exploring and camping in the high deserts of California.
Another of his favorite places to travel and spend time with his family was up in the High Sierra camps in Yosemite.
Born in Los Angeles, he lived in Southern California for 50 years. He also lived at Lake Tahoe.
He is survived by his wife, Barbara, his sones Michael Talmadge, Mark Talmadge, daughter Melissa Talmadge Cox and his brother Bob Talmadge. He also leaves behind daughters-in-law Rosie Talmadge, Betty Talmadge, Gail Talmade, son-in-law Bill Cox, 9 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren and numberous nieces and nephews. He was predesceased by his oldest son, Jim C. Talmadge by 2 months.