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Judy Holliday

Judy Holliday won an Academy Award for her performance as the not-so-dumb blonde in Born Yesterday, a role she fought hard to play. Hoping to break into acting, Holliday joined a variety group called the Revuers before accepting a contract with Twentieth Century Fox, but when the studio gave her only small roles, she ended her contract and moved from film to theater. It was there she took on the role of Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday, performing the part thousands of times on Broadway to much acclaim. Despite her success in the role, she was not considered for the movie until Kathrine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy cast her in Adam’s Rib and pushed for her to be cast in Born Yesterday as well. Producer Harry Cohn relented, and Holliday won an Oscar in 1950 for her reprise of the role she was born for. Her career was derailed for three years by blacklisting from television and radio after she was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952, but in 1957, she won a Tony Award for her performance in Bells Are Ringing.

More on: Acting, Film, Theater
Judy Holliday, 1954
Full image
Judy Holliday enjoying a day off at her New York apartment, 1954.
Courtesy of Corbis/Bettmann.
Date of Birth
June 21, 1921
Place of Birth
New York, New York
Date of Death
June 7, 1965

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Judy Holliday." (Viewed on January 20, 2018) <>.


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