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Sunday, 21 June 2015

Judy Holliday born 21 June 1921

 Judy Holliday (June 21, 1921 – June 7, 1965) was an American actress and singer, whose life was tragically cut short due breast cancer at the age of 43.  
Born Judith Tuvim ("Tuvim" approximates the Yiddish word for "Holiday") in New York City, she was the only child of Abe and Helen Tuvim, Jewish immigrants from Russia. She attended elementary school at PS 150, a school in Sunnyside, Queens, New York. Her first job was as an assistant switchboard operator at the Mercury Theatre run by Orson Welles and John Houseman. 
Holliday began her show business career in December 1938 as part of a nightclub act called "The Revuers." The other four members of the group were Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Alvin Hammer and John Frank; one of their accompanists was Leonard Bernstein. The Revuers were a staple of the New York nightlife scene until they disbanded in early 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. In 1946, she was back on Broadway, as the scatterbrained Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday. Author Garson Kanin had written the play for his friend, Jean Arthur. Arthur played the role of Billie out-of-town, but after many complaints and illnesses, she resigned. Kanin chose Holliday as her replacement. 

Garson Kanin's book on Tracy and Hepburn mentions that when Columbia bought the rights to film Born Yesterday, studio boss Harry Cohn wouldn't consider casting the unknown (outside of Broadway) Holliday. Kanin, together with George Cukor, Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, conspired to promote Holliday by offering her a key part in the 1949 film Adam's Rib. She got rave reviews and Cohn offered her the chance to repeat her role for the film version of Born Yesterday, but only after she did a screen test. She won the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Actress, beating out such formidable competitors as Gloria Swanson, who was nominated for Sunset Boulevard, and Bette Davis for All About Eve.  

In 1952, Holliday was called to testify before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee to answer claims that she was associated with communism. Although not blacklisted from films, she was blacklisted from radio and television for almost three years.  

Here's "Am I Blue" from the 1958 album "Trouble Is a Man."

Judy Holliday gained renown as an actress, not as a singer; yet she had a sweet, true, musical singing voice, an extension of her speaking one, as this newly-discovered recording, made late in her relatively short career, so poignantly reveals. Of course, her singing had been heard earlier, both in the stage and screen versions of the musical comedy Bells Are Ringing, but it seemed secondary to her persona as an actress, that of an endearingly dizzy blonde who, when pressed hard enough, showed her mettle. And, as a matter of fact, her role as an actress, once she achieved stardom on Broadway in Garson Kanin's Born Yesterday (she replaced the unpredictable Jean Arthur as Billie Dawn on short notice), continued to be that of a comedienne.  

Hollywood immediately claimed her. Taking leave of Born Yesterday for a spell, she accepted a subsidiary part in the Tracy-Hepburn picture Adam's Rib, making a big impression in it, and then returned to the West Coast, following the Broadway run of Born Yesterday, to play Billie Dawn again before the cameras. This was succeeded by several similar film characterizations until she came back to Broadway to do Bells Are ringing. Her last show was the short-lived 1963 musical Hot Spot.  

Her first bout with cancer came during the out-of-town tryout, in 1960 of Laurette, a play about the actress Laurette Taylor, when the loss of her voice led to her hospitalization and a mastectomy at 37. She died two years after Hot Spot, just two weeks short of her 42nd birthday. (info mainly edited from Wikipedia & gerrymulliganinfo)


boppinbob said...

For Judy Holliday’s 1958 LP “Trouble is a Man” go here;

1. Trouble Is A Man
2. How About Me?
3. What I Was Warned About
4. I Got Lost In His Arms
5. What'll I Do?
6. Lonely Town
7. Am I Blue
8. Confession
9. An Occasional Man
10. A Ride On A Rainbow
11. Where Have You Been?
12. I'm One Of God's Children
(Who Hasn't Got Wings)

Utilizing selections from the likes of Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and Jule Styne, Miss Holliday covers this material with a warmth and confidence of style that far exceeds expectations. Her renditions of the title track, as well as the familiar “What’ll I Do?” is emotionally charged and display her vocal sensitivity at its very best. Amore energetic approach is displayed on" Am I Blue?" and "I'm One of God's Children." A special treat is her rendition of "An Occasional Man" which delights in many regards! This album will be a wonderful treat for the many fans that are still loyal to the memory and talent of the late, great Judy Holliday. A must have

Pete Cost said...

Link is dead, as many other links posted on your excellent site.
Re-upload, please?
Thank you!