Judy Holiday the forgotten


Actress Judy Holliday clutching telegram in he...

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She is one of Hollywood’s great forgotten actresses, due to fact she died young, but while alive she had spectacular career. During her short reign she won a Oscar, Golden  and Tony. She appeared and or starred in movies such as “Adam’s Rib“, “It Should happen to you” and created the role of her career as Billie Dawn the dim witted blonde that helps take a Mob Boss, on Broadway the in the Movie “Born Yesterday”. She co-starred with Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Broadrick Crawford, Peter Lawford, Dean Martin and Jack Lemon.   While Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe are more celebrated Holiday’s career far surpasses there’s, not bad for ‘dumb blonde’.

A New York girl, born and raised, Judith Tuvim was the only child of parents Abe Tuvimand Helen. In school, she excelled in academics, winning several awards for her skills as a writer. While in her early teens, she developed what would become a life-long love for theater. In 1938, she made her professional debut as part of a nightclub act called “The Revuers”. Her partners in the act included aspiring playwrights Betty Comdenand Adolph Green. The Revuers had a loyal following and even their own weekly radio show on NBC. In 1944, The Revuers broke up after a failed attempt to break into films. Judith adopted the stage name of “Judy Holliday” as part of a “makeover” process that was orchestrated by 20th Century Fox. Judy’s breakthrough performance would come on the stage however, in the 1945 play “Kiss Them For Me”. She followed it up in 1946, with the lead role of “Billie Dawn” in Garson Kanin’s smash hit “Born Yesterday”. She married classical musician ‘David Oppenheim’ in January of 1948. Later, they would have a son named Jonathan, born in November of 1952. In 1950, Judy reprised her hit stage role in the film version of Born Yesterday (1950) for Columbia Studios. Her hysterical and endearing portrayal of dumb blonde Billie Dawn earned her an upset win at the Academy Awards, beating out Bette Davis and Gloria Swanson for the best actress Oscar. Her new-found fame made her a prime target for the Communist witch hunters of the early 1950s. She became the subject of a secret F.B.I. investigation and a victim of “blacklisting”. She was later cleared of any serious wrong-doing after testifying before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, but by then the damage to her career had already been done. The quality roles befitting an Oscar winning actress did not come her way. She was forced to star in lesser roles that were often just flat variations of the Billie Dawn character. It’s a testament to her acting abilities that she was able to rise above the material and give solid performances time and time again. When not lighting up the silver screen, Judy divided her time between the stage and making records. She was a unique and gifted performer whose life and career were cut tragically short when she lost her 5 year battle with cancer in June of 1965.


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