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Judy Holliday
Judy Holliday 1954.jpg
Judy Holliday in 1954.
Born (1921-06-21)June 21, 1921
Died June 7, 1965(1965-06-07) (aged 43)
New York City, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1938–63
David Oppenheim
(m. 1948; div. 1958)
Children Jonathan Oppenheim

Judy Holliday (Born Judith Tuvim, June 21, 1921 – June 7, 1965) was an American actress, comedian, and singer.

She began her career as part of a nightclub act before working in Broadway plays and musicals. Her success in the 1946 stage production of Born Yesterday as Billie Dawn led to her being cast in the 1950 film version for which she won an Academy Award for Best Actress and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. She appeared in several films during the 1950s. She was noted for her performance on Broadway in the musical Bells Are Ringing, winning a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical and reprising her role in the 1960 film.

In 1952, Holliday was called to testify before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee to answer claims she was associated with communism.

Early life and career

Promotional photograph ofJudy Holliday
Holliday 1950

Holliday was born in New York City, she was an only child. She grew up in Sunnyside, Queens, New York, and graduated from Julia Richman High School in Manhattan. Her first job was as an assistant switchboard operator at the Mercury Theatre, which was administered by Orson Welles and John Houseman.

Holliday began her show business career in 1938, under her original name, as part of a nightclub act called The Revuers. The Revuers played engagements in New York night clubs and in Hollywood, California. The group disbanded in early 1944.

Her first film role was a small but noticeable role as an airman's wife in the Twentieth Century Fox film version of the U.S. Army Air Forces' play Winged Victory (1944). Holliday made her Broadway debut on March 20, 1945 at the Belasco Theatre in Kiss Them for Me and was one of the recipients that year of the Clarence Derwent Award.

Later career

Poster for the film Bells Are Ringing 1960

She starred in the film version of The Solid Gold Cadillac, which was released in August 1956.

In November 1956, Holliday returned to Broadway starring in the musical Bells Are Ringing. In 1957, she won the Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. Returning to her film career after a gap of several years, she starred in the film version of Bells Are Ringing (1960), her last film.

In October 1960, Holliday started out-of-town tryouts on the play Laurette. When Holliday became ill and had to leave the show, it closed in Philadelphia without opening on Broadway. She had throat surgery shortly after leaving the production in October 1960.

Her last role was in the stage musical Hot Spot, co-starring newcomers such as Joseph Campanella and Mary Louise Wilson, which closed after 43 performances on May 25, 1963.

Personal life

Holliday foot stone
The footstone at Judy Holliday's grave

In 1948 Holliday married clarinetist David Oppenheim, who was later a classical music and television producer and academic. The couple had one child, Jonathan, before they divorced in 1958. She then had a long-term relationship with jazz musician Gerry Mulligan, but she never married him. Musically talented herself, Holliday supplied lyrics to Mulligan for the theme song he composed for the 1965 film A Thousand Clowns.

A long-time heavy smoker, Holliday died from breast cancer on June 7, 1965, two weeks before her 44th birthday. She was interred in the Westchester Hills Cemetery in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. Five years prior to her death, she was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6901 Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles.



Year Film Role Other notes
1938 Too Much Johnson Extra short subject
1944 Greenwich Village Revuer scene cut, but Holliday is still visible as an uncredited extra
Something for the Boys Defense plant welder uncredited bit role
Winged Victory Ruth Miller
1949 Adam's Rib Doris Attinger Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
On the Town Daisy (Simpkins' MGM date) uncredited, voice only
1950 Born Yesterday Emma "Billie" Dawn Academy Award for Best Actress
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Jussi Award Diploma of Merit for Best Foreign Actress
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress (2nd place)
1952 The Marrying Kind "Florrie" Keefer Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress
1954 It Should Happen to You Gladys Glover
Phffft! Nina Tracey née Chapman Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress
1956 The Solid Gold Cadillac Laura Partridge Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1957 Full of Life Emily Rocco
1960 Bells Are Ringing Ella Peterson Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy

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