James Wesley Huguely
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HUGUELY, James Wesley Jay Huguely, noted actor, director, theatre owner, playwright, singer, song writer, producer, and television writer, died suddenly in his home in Valencia, CA, on Dec. 13, 2008. He was 68 years old. Born in Richmond, KY, on Sept. 21, 1940, the son of Durrett and Cleta Huguely, Jay showed early promise as a performer by winning high ratings in debate and speech contests in high school. He worked as a DJ and newscaster at local radio stations while attending Eastern Kentucky State, and he directed shows at the Surfside Playhouse in Melbourne, FL. In 1960, he graduated from the American Theatre Wing in New York. Then, with a successful audition and financial backing collected from townspeople in London, KY, who believed in his talent, he set sail across the Atlantic to London, England, to enroll in the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Upon graduating with honors in 1962, Jay won a scholarship to study at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, where he discovered he had a talent for singing as well as for acting. He remained in England for a time doing both stage and television work. When he returned to the States, he was cast in the starring role of El Gallo in the off-Broadway musical "The Fantasticks." After working in summer stock, outdoor drama, and regional theatre, Jay met producer Bill Hartigan, and the two of them formed the soon-to-be well-known H&H Productions, a company that provided shows for theatres all over the Southeast. Jay himself was heavily sought after by theatre owners for both his directing and acting skills, and actors fought for the privilege of working under his inspiring tutelage. Jay's charismatic performances in such popular shows as "Music Man," "I Do! I Do!," "110 in the Shade," and "Man of La Mancha" will long be remembered by audiences and fellow performers everywhere. In 1974, Jay gave up life on the road for the job of creative director at Leslie Advertising, where 17 of his commercial campaigns won Addy awards. One assignment involved creating an ad for CB radios. Jay borrowed a CB, went on the interstate, and listened to the lingo for about an hour, taking notes. He ad-libbed about ten minutes' worth of material on tape for a client (who hated it). The president of the agency, however, was so impressed that he persuaded Jay to cut a record of what was to become "The White Knight," a hit single bought and released by Mercury Records, who signed Jay to a five-year contract. Jay, dubbing himself "Cledus Maggard and the Citizen's Band," wrote and recorded two albums' worth of songs under that name and went back on the road as a country music celebrity. He received numerous awards including Top Novelty Artist, New Male Artist of the Year, New Comedian Award, Top New Comedy Artist, and Best New Comedy Artist from "Billboard," "Cash Box," and "Music City News." He also appeared regularly on such televised shows as the famed "Grand Ole Opry," "Hee Haw," "Pop Goes the Country," and "The Porter Wagoner Show." His "White Knight" single reached number one on "Billboard Magazine's" Hot Country Singles chart in Feb. 1976, and the record went gold after selling a million copies. Another song, "Torn Flag," resides in the Library of Congress, and his song "My Turn" was recorded by Reba McEntire. After five years of touring as Cledus Maggard, Jay was cast in a lead role in the Broadway musical "Play Me a Country Song." After that show closed, he was called to Hollywood to direct and star in "That Other Woman's Child." When a Hollywood actor friend suggested that Jay try writing for television, Jay wrote and submitted a script for "Tales of the Gold Monkey." The script was accepted, and Jay was put under contract, opening up yet another career path for this man of many talents. Other scripts followed, and soon Jay landed on "Magnum, P.I.," the hottest show on television. He started as a story editor and worked his way up to full writer/producer status. He was nominated for the NAACP Image Award for his script "Sense of Debt," and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences honored him for his contribution to John Hillerman's Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. After "Magnum," Jay went on to write for "B.L. Stryker," "Once a Hero," "Tag Team," "Wolf," "MacGyver," "Airwolf," "Murder, She Wrote," "Quantum Leap," "Silk Stalkings," and "Street Justice." He also wrote the television movie "Bandit: Bandit's Silver Angel" and the feature film "Friday the 13th: Jason Goes to Hell." Jay retired in 1999, but he continued to lend his time and talents to others. He headed the Drama Ministry at the Valencia United Methodist Church, and many a service was enhanced by his dramatic vignettes. He also produced full productions for the church at Christmas and for fundraisers. In 2000 he wrote, produced, and directed a full-length play called "Home" to raise both money and awareness for the plight of the homeless. This production and his work at the shelter won him the Volunteer of the Year award for the Santa Clarita shelter. Jay Huguely was a Renaissance man. He made a success of every artistic endeavor that came his way, and he left a trail of fans and admirers everywhere he went. He was invariably generous with his time, talents, and money, and he mentored many an actor, writer, and musician. He was charming and entertaining, enthusiastic and unpretentious - a loving husband and father, and a loyal friend. Jay is survived by his actress wife Mary Krause, his son James Randolph (Andrea) Huguely, and his granddaughters, Carinna and Caroline. A memorial service will be held on May 2, 2009, at 2:00 p.m. at the Valencia United Methodist Church, 25718 McBean Pkwy., Valencia, CA. Memorial donations may be made in Jay's name to the homeless shelter through the Santa Clarita Community Development Corporation: SCCDC, 24901 Orchard Village Rd., Valencia, CA 91355.

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Published in Los Angeles Times on Apr. 26, 2009.
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19 entries
May 14, 2009

Jay and I discovered far back genealogical ties in Madison County, Kentucky, and we spent a great deal of time through the last years piecing together by telephone and e-mail messages our kinships there. One day a picture of John Huguely's famous vest from the 1840s that had been exhibited at the Richmond, KY Centennial appeared in my mailbox. Jay had gone to great effort to photograph it for me in the right light. We never did meet face to face, and that is a shame. Your story of Jay's life is wonderful to read. Thank you for that and for your call. Take care.
Edgar Parrish
May 2, 2009
Dear Mary,
We are holding you in the light on this difficult day as you memorialize your most remarkable husband. We only wish that we had known him. Sending hugs and love across the country. Hope we can see you in Minneapolis in June.
Carol and Mike Perry
April 29, 2009
Dear Mary,

We always thought Jay was quite a character, but didn't realize how true that really was. The world is a little lonelier without him.
Ron & Jennifer Smith
April 27, 2009
Mary Dear,
Thank you so much for your call alerting me to find this loving tribute. I am sure you must truly miss the man who was such an important part of your life for so many years.
Although I only knew 'OF' him, and never had the pleasure of knowing him personally, it is obvious that the happiness you shared was a rare gift. Hold onto that as you continue to treasure those wonderful memories.
Love always,
Bonnie (Bonita Chambers) & the 'boys'
Bonita Chambers
April 27, 2009
“… and when he shall die, take him and cut him out in little stars and he will make the face of heaven so fine that all the world will be in love with night and pay no worship to the garish sun.”

William Shakespeare, “Romeo & Juliet”
Georgia Gould-Lyle
April 27, 2009
Thank you so much for sharing Jay's life story with us. I will always treasure the times spent with Jay and you and your dear cats and dog when you had all of us over. Jay was the perfect host as you are hostess.
Christine Link
April 27, 2009
Mary Dearest,

Your tribute to Jay is wonderfully written, profoundly moving in its depiction of his talents, career and persona. Jay comes through beautifully, and I'm sure he would have been proud of you, as I am for giving us this opportunity to reflect on the many ways he touched our lives. Thank you, sweetheart.

Don Walters
April 27, 2009
My mother, Jayne, and I met Jay through his wife Mary(a high school classmate of mine) in California many years ago, and we had
many memorable times with them at their
house. It was such a pleasure to get to
know him. He was a wonderful man.
We will always remember him.
The Garneau Family
Bud Garneau
April 27, 2009
I just received a link to this tribute to Jay. I never knew him, but your years together must have been full and rich, and his loss must be very difficult. You are in my thoughts.

Margie Schmidt Brown
April 27, 2009
We were honored to meet him. He was engaging, full of life and full of stories. We cherish our copy of “The White Knight” by Cledus Maggard and will play it in his honor. We’ll be in touch, Mary.

Susan Bloomfield and Kenny DeCoster
Susan & Kenny
April 26, 2009
Mary, this is a very nice tribute to a very talented man. I know you have many treasured memories of your life together, may they give you comfort and peace in the days and years to come.
Our love,
Randy and Janet Etken (Shakopee, MN)
April 26, 2009
We knew you too short a time, but that time was exciting--when you whipped us around LA showing us the pits and the studios. Had hoped to see you again. But now....
Keen&Nancy Butterworth
April 26, 2009
April 26, 2009
I'll never forget Jay's humor and intelligence. Mary, remember that night we three had dinner in Minneapolis, and started playing word games - you and I held our own, but Jay was by far the brightest star. What a spirited evening we had, and what an entertaining gentleman Jay was! He will be vastly missed.
Betsy Foster
April 26, 2009
A character in every sense of the word; a wonderful tribute to a loved man and a richly lived life. Our thoughts are with you. Mary. Celebrate & savor the memories. Our love, David, Chrystal, Dylan & Jax DeCoster.
chrystal decoster
April 26, 2009
Thank you for sharing this, Mary. Hang in there, I know it's hard.
Kathy Davis
April 26, 2009

I had no idea what an incredibly talented man Jay was. I wish I had known him. Thank you for honoring him with this story of his life. It is a beautiful gift.
Patty O'Brien
April 26, 2009
What a beautiful obituary for a gifted man. Thank you, Mary, for sharing his story so movingly.
Barbara (Agnes)
Barbara Rugen
April 26, 2009
A man for all seasons, he was one of the most talented individuals we have ever known. Jim and Vickie Sewell
Jim Sewell
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