Tyler James Cravens (age 50) died Saturday, December 9th at 9:15am, surrounded by friends and family, after a brief but valiant battle with cancer. He was a professional actor, successful restaurateur, loyal friend, and above all, beloved and devoted husband.
Tyler was born June, 28, 1967 in Evansville, Indiana but soon relocated several times before settling for the duration of his childhood in Jackson, Mississippi. It was there, in high school, Tyler discovered his lifelong love and passion for acting, which entered his life by way of the annual theater competition.
Professional acting, however, didn't become reality until some time later. First, Tyler entered the US Army Reserves. He attended basic and advanced training at Ft. Jackson, SC, after which he enrolled at the University of Arkansas-Ft. Smith for a year and a half before opting for active duty. During his six-year military career he held duty stations at The Air Assault School (Ft. Campbell, KY), a year long stint in South Korea (Camp Humphreys), and then the 5th Special Group (Ft. Campbell, KY). It was with 5th Group that Tyler deployed to Operation Desert Shield/Storm, earning the respected status: combat veteran. He ultimately achieved the rank of Sergeant, qualified as a Paratrooper (38 airborne jumps), became qualified in Air Assault tactics and Rappel Master, and attended Primary Leadership Development School where he finished 5th in his class.
Throughout his life in the military, Tyler never lost his desire for the art of acting. Upon returning from the Gulf War (1991), he began performing regional theater and appeared in several local and regional commercials. Acting became Tyler's life while the Army was his day job. In time, he left the military (1993) to pursue his dream to become a successful actor.
After bouncing around the country from Nashville to New York, Tyler landed in Orlando, FL where he really hit his stride. He began taking acting classes and working as an actor at several different venues. He was a contracted performer at Universal Studios where he dazzled audiences in shows like The Ghostbusters Spooktacular Show, Alfred Hitchcock: The Art of Making Movies, and The Horror Makeup Show. At the same time, he also worked nights at Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show and Capone’s Dinner Show. But this wasn’t enough for Tyler. Tyler knew he was supposed to be in Film and Television.
Tyler searched for the right agent to represent him and that’s exactly what he found in Traci Danielle of Brevard Talent Group. Little did he know this would begin a partnership that would last over 20 years. With the help of Traci, Tyler began auditioning and booking. He was off and running. Some notable credits include: From Earth to the Moon, Maximum Bob, S Club 7, Tigerland, and For Love of Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story. During this run he got to work with some amazing people: Tom Hanks, Beau Bridges, Dylan Walsh, Colin Farrell and Andy Garcia just to name a few.
Tyler was on the rise and Hollywood was calling. In the late 1990s, he moved to Los Angeles. This move would prove to be the most gratifying of his life. It was here he met the love of his life, his Soulmate, Patcharee Suksamran. Like most actors who move to L.A., Tyler worked a day job to pay the bills. While working as a financial manager for a casino, a co-worker suggested that he come to dinner with her, her husband and some friends. Tyler agreed. That evening he met Patcharee for the first time and it was over. From that moment on, Tyler James Cravens was officially off the market. After dinner, he and Patcharee spent the rest of the evening talking about anything and everything. They spoke of how they came to be in L.A. They spoke of hopes and dreams. They spoke of previous trials and tribulations. They smiled. They cried. They laughed. In short, they fell in love. And on December 22nd, 2004 Tyler and Patcharee were married.
After their wedding, the new couple moved back to Central Florida and opened a restaurant together. On June 1st, 2008 Thai Blossom was born. This beautiful restaurant is located in the historic Edgewater Hotel in downtown Winter Garden. Thai Blossom was an instant hit. Tyler and Patcharee were an amazing team. Patcharee accumulated and perfected recipes, concentrating on delivering the most delicious dishes possible; Tyler, perfectly suited, ran the business side of the restaurant. They both would often be seen speaking with customers, welcoming them into their restaurant, and making sure they had a great time. Tyler and Patcharee were a well-oiled machine when it came to running the restaurant. Their hard work and determination resulted in Thai Blossom winning many awards including Best Thai Restaurant, year after year, from Orlando Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, MyCityEats, Talk of the Town, and Trip Advisor.
With Thai Blossom doing well, Tyler went back to auditioning for film and television. He was back with a vengeance, booking roles left and right, including Letters to God, Endure, Graceland, and Sleepy Hollow. Recently, his most notable role was as the cool, efficient hitman, Ralph Lawler, in the Netflix Original series Bloodline.
Tyler will always be remembered for his love for his wife, his passion to create, his dry sense of humor that lead to his contagious laugh, and his indomitable spirit.
Tyler is survived by his wife, Patcharee Cravens, and his siblings, Thomas J. Cravens, Teresa “Tracey” Cravens Haney, Tamara Cravens Tateosian and their children. A Celebration of Life will be held at 7:00 pm on Thursday, December 4, 2017 at Dobbs Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks you to consider donating to www.standuptocancer.org in his name.
“Onward and Upward”