Judy Holliday is ‘Phffft!’ Movie Star

January 7, 2009

This is Judy Holliday. She and actor Jack Lemmon starred in the off-the-wall and definitely quirky 1954 divorce comedy ‘Phfft!’. You can read Judy Holliday’s biography below, see a photo and watch a fun video.

Judy Holiday

‘Phffft!’ is a movie classic starring Judy Holiday and Jack Lemmon as a divorcing couple who just can’t quit each other.

Judith Tuvim – Tuvim is Hebrew for Holiday – was born on June 21, 1921 in New York City. She died on June 7, 1965 at the age of 43. She was an Oscar, Golden Globe and Tony Award-winning actress for her work in movies and on the Broadway stage.

Judy Holiday was the only child of Abe and Helen Tuvim, Jewish immigrants from Russia. She grew up in Queens, New York and her first job was as an assistant switchboard operator at the Mercury Theatre run by Orson Welles and John Houseman.

Judy began her show business career in December 1938 as part of a nightclub act called ‘The Revuers.’ They were considered a staple of the New York nightlife scene until they disbanded in early 1944.

She made her Broadway debut on March 20, 1945, in ‘Kiss Them for Me’ and won the Clarence Derwent Award for her performance. In 1946, she was back on Broadway, as the scatterbrained Billie Dawn in ‘Born Yesterday.’ replacement. She also repeated her role as Billie Dawn in the film version of ‘Born Yesterday’ and won the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Actress. You can watch a famous scene from ‘Born Yesterday’ below the fold.

In 1950, Judy Holliday was caught up in the blacklisting of Hollywood and was the subject of an FBI investigation looking into allegations that she was a Communist. Though the investigation “did not reveal positive evidence of membership in the Communist Party” she was still blacklisted from performing on radio and television for almost three years.

In 1954, she starred with a then-rising young star Jack Lemmon for the popular comedy, ‘It Should Happen to You.’ They then starred together in the movie Phffft!. Their comedic chemistry on screen made the two films really big commercial hits. In 1956, Judy went on to star in ‘The Solid Gold Cadillac’ and in 1957 Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical.

Sadly, Judy Holliday died from breast cancer in 1965 at the age of 43. She was survived by her young son, Jonathan Oppenheim, and by her ex-husband, clarinetist and conductor David Oppenheim.

« Previous Next »

Comments are closed.