Thursday, July 21, 2011

RIP Herb Tanney

Herbert Tanney, M.D., longtime resident of the Santa Ynez Valley, died Tuesday, June 28th, at the age of 80 from congestive heart failure at his temporary residence in San Diego. He is survived by Donna Rae his wife of 33 years, their two daughters Amanda (ART) Tanney and Rebecca Tanney; five children from his previous marriage, Lisa Tanney Clements, Dr. Julia Tanney Flower, Laura Tanney Kennedy, Carol Tanney Valle, and Valarie Tanney Cardenas. 11 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Dr. Tanney was born in Orange, New Jersey on November 28, 1930. He attended high school in New York and New Jersey. During undergraduate study, Dr. Tanney completed two years at the University of Michigan then transferred to UCLA where he received his Bachelor's degree. He was accepted into the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Buffalo where he earned his medical degree in Endocrinology and Internal Medicine while receiving the highly competitive Roswell Park Prize for excellence in surgery. After graduation he served as a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps stationed at Fort Richardson, Alaska. Following his service, Dr. Tanney accepted the Endocrinology Fellow position at USC-LA County General Hospital. He opened private practices in Beverly Hills and Century City before relocating to the Santa Ynez Valley in 1988. Dr. Tanney practiced medicine in Solvang for 20 years.

Aside from medicine, Dr. Tanney worked as an actor, appearing in the majority of Blake Edwards' films including Wild Rovers, 10, and the original Pink Panther series. He is best remembered for his role as the private investigator, Charles Bovin, in Victor Victoria. His movie work encouraged him to travel and during the course of his life he visited many different countries including Barbados, England, France, Austria, Switzerland, Greece, Jordan, and Japan.

Dr. Tanney's hobbies included cultivating succulents and orchids, collecting and repairing antique clocks, and playing the violin. When asked why he chose to become a doctor over a concert violinist, his response was that as a professional violinist he would not be able to be a doctor as well. However, as a doctor, he could pursue the medical profession and still enjoy his favorite pastime.

His patients will remember his attentiveness, his detective-like instincts for diagnosis, and his endless patience in the office. His family and friends will remember Dr. Tanney for his dry sense of humor, which left some scratching their heads, but always kept him amused.

For those who wish to do so, donations may be made to Odyssey Vista Care Hospice Foundation at 9444 Balboa Ave., Suite 290, San Diego, CA 92123.

Published in Santa Ynez Valley News on July 21, 2011

TANNEY, Herbert (aka Steem Tanney, Studs Tanney)
Born: 11/28/1930, Orange, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Died: 6/28/2011, San Diego, California, U.S.A.

Herbert Tanney's westerns - actor:
Wild Rovers - 1971 (piano player) [as Stude Tanney]
Sunset - 1988 (George the conductor) [as Steem Tanney]


  1. Hi, I was just wondering where you got this photograph? I have never seen it before and was just curious. I do not recognise the background.

    -Rebecca (his youngest daughter)

    1. Hello Rebecca it was published along with several black & white photos in this article in the Santa Ynez Journal

  2. I remember Dr. Tanney so clearly from century city. I was a pharmaceutical rep. He was polite and so interested in my life and he was genuine and warm

  3. I was an experimental patient of wonderful Dr. Tanney in about 1973- he tried desperately to help my extreme metabolic malfunctions re weight. Where are his records of research and patients, please?