Ted Switzer

Date of Death

Theodore Esmond Switzer, 99, publicity executive with Filmways, CBS, and Warner Brothers, passed to eternity October 3, 2023. He is survived by his children, Gregory, Jacalyn, and Jonathan, eight grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren. Preceding him in death is wife Patricia, one stillborn child, and Anthony Clark Switzer. Ted will be remembered by everyone who knew him, whose lives and hearts were touched by his story.
Ted was born to Esmond and Hazel Switzer of Helena, Montana, in April 1924. Gold drew Esmond to abandon his young family for the Yukon. Hazel’s parents relocated to Carlsbad, California, but Hazel moved with Ted to Los Angeles. They lived in a boarding house downtown, supported by Hazel’s dancing tours. Alone or at boarding school, Ted grew up on depression-era streets while the city grew around him.
High school was in Carlsbad where he excelled in academics and sports, was senior class president, and known as well-spoken, charismatic, and handsome. He served in WWII in the South Pacific as a soldier then MP. He was injured in a motorcycle accident and caught malaria, both which would plague him through his life.
Discharged, he attended USC as a radio communications major on the GI Bill. There he met his wife, Patricia, a music major and beauty queen. They married in 1947 and moved to Burbank in 1950. He worked at NBC as a page and synopsized scripts to feed his growing family, was groomed as an actor at MGM, but pursued public relations.
As Ted tried to fulfill his role as husband and father, he became disillusioned and angry. He realized he wanted only one thing in life; a family where the father didn’t leave. But never having had a father, he didn’t know how to be one. As his work life looked hopeful and he was hired by Paul Henning to publicize his show, “The Beverly Hillbillies,” his family life plunged him into depression, deepened by another back injury. When his fourth child died at five years old, Ted was diagnosed as severely depressed. Since his prognosis was suicide, the psychiatrist asked him what he thought might help. Ted said, “I think I need to go to church.”
Ted began attending Magnolia Park Methodist Church in Burbank in 1966, where Patricia was church organist. His only qualifications being poise as a speaker and work in show business, the pastor asked him to teach an adult Sunday School class. Each week, Ted dutifully reported his search of the great religions of the world and the occult, in hope of finding the truth. One by one, religions fell by the wayside and his depression stayed. Then he remembered turning his life over to God when his son died. He started to take Christianity seriously.
After a year, Ted was convinced that he had met God through Jesus Christ. His perspective changed. For the first time as an adult he found peace, knew where he was going, and how to get there. His family was amazed. He became a sought-after speaker in evangelical Methodism, Christian Businessmen Renewal group, the Ashram retreat movement, youth fellowships, and whoever called. He witnessed to strangers and performed in local outreaches. Besides the Sunday School class he taught continuously through his 96th year, he led Sunday services at a retirement home in North Hollywood for twenty years. His home was a haven for traveling teachers, exchange students, and the homeless as he took the scripture seriously, “…entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.” When his wife of 63 years became bedridden, Ted cared for her until her death. Always ready to pray for every situation, offer an exhortation, encouragement, or provision, Ted became a father to everyone.
Last June, at 99, Ted gave the benediction after a sermon delivered by his eldest son for Father’s Day in a loud, controlled voice, in full presence of mind, with no thought to the irony of his final public speech.
A memorial service will be held at Magnolia Park Methodist Church, 2828 Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, on November 18 at 11am.