Search This Blog

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Long Before I Knew You: Judy Holliday

Dear Ms. Holliday,

You don't know me, but I'm a big fan of yours. I love your movies. I'm sorry to say I've never seen you on stage.
I write a little blog on theatre in the Denver area. I call myself the Big Bad Wolf because it was a nickname I picked up somewhere along the way - I have a tendency to be a bit outspoken about things I believe in, so I guess it fits. I don't mind the reputation. Sometimes you have to stand up for your beliefs.
You and I have that in common. I admire your courage in refusing to name names before the Senate Internal Security Committee in 1952. That could have cost you, but you stood tough.
I also direct and occasionally act in theatre. At the moment, I haven't got much going on. I guess you know what that's like. I heard that, despite your rave reviews on Broadway in Born Yesterday, Columbia wasn't going to let Garson Kanin cast you as Billie Dawn in the movie version. One of my favorite Hollywood behind-the-scenes stories is about how Garson Kanin, Spencer Tracy, and Katharine Hepburn connived and conspired to get you the role in Adam's Rib so that Columbia Studios could see what you could do. And after your performance in that film, how could anyone not give you the role of Billie in Born Yesterday?
For me, your performance in Born Yesterday is unsurpassed. I made the mistake of watching the remake with Melanie Griffith a few years ago. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't you. So now I stick strictly to your portrayal. A friend recently directed the play in town, but I wouldn't go see it. Nothing against their version, of course, I just prefer to think of Billie Dawn as portrayed by you.
I suppose that I can confess at this point, Judy, that I have a bit of a crush on you. Okay, I have a big crush on you. Not only are you incredibly beautiful and talented, but you're courageous and strong. I'm also very attracted to the fact that, on top of all your other graces, your I.Q. is higher than mine. 172. Wow!
I would really love to meet you sometime and talk about your experiences in Hollywood and on Broadway (maybe you'd let me hold your Tony award, just for a minute).
Unfortunately, this world lost you to breast cancer in 1965 - a little over eight years before I was born. This fact weighs heavily on me, and I watch your movies with just a bit of sadness in my heart (much as you always manage to make me laugh as well).
I'm sorry there wasn't a cure then. We still don't have one now, but we're working on it. There are lots of organizations mobilized to fight breast cancer. I linked to three of them on my Twitter page today, in fact, and I will do the same next Saturday.
I'm even turning my blog pink for the rest of the month to show my support.
There are millions of us, and we will find a cure, because we all have personal reasons for taking up the fight.
You are one of mine.
Thank you, Judy. You inspire me.

Your Biggest Fan,

The Big Bad Wolf


Chaz said...

I agree that Judy Holliday was excellent in the role of Billie. But don't you think that, as a piece of theater that is written to be preformed again and again to new audiences that you should give it a chance when it is preformed live and in your town. Not just to support local art but also to shed new light on a story you love so much? The show at the John Hand theater was one of the best pieces of theater I have seen in Denver and the actress that played Billie was truely inspiring.

Brady Darnell said...

Chaz, there are currently 50 productions being "preformed" in Colorado at the moment. This does not include college, high school, or children's productions. As long as I have to pick and choose what I'm going to see anyway, I think I can use my affection for Judy Holliday's portrayal of Billie Dawn as a criteria for elimination.
I'm glad that you enjoyed the John Hand production.
To be completely candid, I was tipped off by one of the cast members shortly before the show opened: "Don't Bother."
That made my decision much easier.

Anonymous said...

very useful read. I would love to follow you on twitter.