The delightful Judy Holliday, born Judith Tuvim in New York City 95 years ago today, appeared in fewer than a dozen pictures and starred or was featured in fewer than that, but her impact on Hollywood was indelible. She remains one of our very favorites.
Here are 10 Judy Holliday Did-You-Knows:
- Holliday grew up in Sunnyside, Queens and graduated from Julia Richman High School.
- Holiday was rejected by Yale Drama School out of high school.
- She went on to work briefly as a switchboard operator in Orson Welles‘ Mercury Theater.
- Early in her career, Judy Holliday was a member of a cabaret group called The Revuers that was founded by Betty Comden and Adolph Green.
- She made her motion picture debut in a small role in Greenwich Village (1944). After two more bits parts that year, she returned to New York City and the theatre for five years.
- Prior to its Broadway debut, Holliday replaced Jean Arthur as Billie Dawn in Garson Kanin‘s play Born Yesterday. Though there was talk of casting Rita Hayworth in the movie adaptation of the play, Katharine Hepburn, impressed by Holliday’s work in Adam’s Rib (1949), helped Holliday nab the screen role.
- Though she was associated with dumb blonde roles, Judy Holliday’s IQ was said to be 172.
- Holiday was investigated in 1950 (and eventually cleared) by the FBI due to allegations that she was a Communist. In 1952, she was called to testify before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee regarding those same allegations. She wasn’t blacklisted as a results of the (unfounded) rumors surrounding her, but it is thought her career was negatively impacted.
- Holliday won the 1957 Tony Award as best actress in a musical for Bells Are Ringing. She went on to play the same role in the 1960 film version opposite Dean Martin.
- Holliday wrote a number of songs with jazz saxophonist Gerry Mulligan; he wrote the melodies, she wrote the lyrics. They also recorded an album, Holliday with Mulligan, together
Judy Holliday died of cancer three weeks before her 44th birthday, on June 7, 1965.
Happy birthday, Ms. Holliday, wherever you may be; you are sorely missed!