The Full Wiki

More info on Judy Holliday

Judy Holliday: Map


Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:

Holliday in her dressing room, Los Angeles Civic Light Opera, 1959
Judy Holliday (June 21, 1921 – June 7, 1965) was an American actress.

Holliday began her career as part of a night-club act, before progressing to work in Broadwaymarker roles. Her success in the 1946 production of Born Yesterday led to her being cast in the film version of 1950, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. She appeared regularly in film during the 1950s and achieved a success on Broadway in the play 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 version.

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.

Early life

Born Judith Tuvim ("Tuvim" approximates the Yiddish word [yontoyvim] for "Holiday") in New York Citymarker, she was the only child of Abe and Helen Tuvim, Jewish immigrants from Russiamarker. She attended elementary school at PS 150, a school in Sunnyside, Queensmarker, 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 Broadwaymarker 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 (which at first was used only as a "benchmark against which to evaluate" other actresses being considered for the role). She won the first Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and at the 23rd Academy Awards, Holliday won the Academy Award for Best Actress, over Gloria Swanson, who was nominated for Sunset Boulevard, and Bette Davis, for All About Eve.

Investigated for Communism

In 1950, Holliday was the subject of an FBImarker investigation looking into allegations that she was a Communist. The investigation "did not reveal positive evidence of membership in the Communist Party" and was concluded after three months. Unlike many others tainted by the Communist scandal, she was not blacklisted from movies, but she was blacklisted from performing on radio and television for almost three years.

In 1952, she was called to testify before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee to "explain" why her name had been linked to Communist front organizations. In spite of her 172 IQ, she was advised to play dumb (like some of her film characters) and did so. She used this technique to avoid giving up names of people she knew to be Communists.

In 1954, she starred with a then-rising young star Jack Lemmon for the popular comedy, It Should Happen to You. Holliday and Lemmon next starred together (in that same year) in Phffft!. Their comedic chemistry on screen made the two films into big hits.

Later life and death

The foot stone at Judy Holliday's grave
1956 she starred in The Solid Gold Cadillac, and in 1960 in the film version of Bells Are Ringing, a musical with lyrics by Comden and Green that had debuted on Broadway in 1956, and for which she had won the 1957 Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical.

Holliday died from breast cancer, in 1965. She was survived by her young son, Jonathan Oppenheim, and by her ex-husband, clarinetist and conductor David Oppenheim. She also had a long-term relationship with jazz musician Gerry Mulligan. Holliday was interred in the Westchester Hills Cemetery in Hastings-on-Hudson, New Yorkmarker. Jonathan Oppenheim grew up to become a documentary film editor of note, editing Paris is Burning, Children Underground, and Arguing the World.

Holliday has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Famemarker at 6901 Hollywood Blvd.


Year Film Role Other notes
1938 Too Much Johnson Extra short subject
1944 Greenwich Village Revuer uncredited
Something for the Boys Defense plant welder uncredited
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
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 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1957 Full of Life
1960 Bells Are Ringing Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy

Stage work

Year Production Role Other notes
1942 My Dear Public with The Revuers
1945 Kiss Them for Me Alice Tony Award - Theatre World Award
1946 Born Yesterday Billie Dawn
1951 Dream Girl
1956 Bells Are Ringing Ella Peterson Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical
1960 Laurette
1963 Hot Spot Sally Hopwinder


  1. Bill Crow. From Birdland to Broadway: Scenes from a Jazz Life (Oxford University Press, 1992), p185.
  2. What Ever Became of "Geniuses"?, Time, 19 Dec 1977.

External links

Embed code:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address