Ashley Judd

Ashley Judd

Birth name: Ashley Tyler Ciminella
Born: April 19, 1968
Age: 50
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, U.S.
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Biography

Ashley Judd (born Ashley Tyler Ciminella; April 19, 1968) is an American actress and political activist. She grew up in a family of successful performing artists as the daughter of country music singer Naomi Judd and the half-sister of Wynonna Judd. While she is best known for an ongoing acting career spanning more than two decades, she has increasingly become involved in global humanitarian efforts and political activism.

Judd has had leading roles in films including Ruby in Paradise (1993), Norma Jean & Marilyn (1996), Kiss the Girls (1997), Double Jeopardy (1999), Where the Heart Is (2000), High Crimes (2002), De-Lovely (2004), Bug (2006), Dolphin Tale (2011), Divergent (2014), Dolphin Tale 2 (2014), and The Divergent Series: Insurgent (2015). She starred as Rebecca Winstone in the 2012 television series Missing, for which she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie. In 2010, she earned a one-year mid-career master's degree in public administration from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. She is a well-known Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball fan, being present at most games.

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Early life

Judd was born in Granada Hills, Los Angeles. She is the daughter of Naomi Judd, a country music singer and motivational speaker, and Michael Charles Ciminella, a marketing analyst for the horseracing industry. Ashley's elder sister, Wynonna, is also a country music singer. Her paternal grandfather was of Sicilian descent, and her paternal grandmother was a descendant of Mayflower pilgrim William Brewster. At the time of her birth, her mother was unemployed; she did not become well known as a singer until the early 1980s. Judd's parents divorced in 1972. The following year, her mother took Ashley back to Naomi's native Kentucky, where Judd spent the majority of her childhood. She also went to school in Marin County, California, as a child.

Judd attended 13 schools before college, including the Sayre School (Lexington, Kentucky), Paul G. Blazer High School (Ashland, Kentucky) and Franklin High School in Tennessee. She briefly tried modeling in Japan during a school break. An alumna of the sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma at the University of Kentucky, she majored in French and minored in anthropology, art history, theater, and women's studies. She spent a semester studying in France as part of her major. She graduated from the UK Honors Program and was nominated to Phi Beta Kappa but did not graduate with her class. Forgoing her commitment to join the Peace Corps, after college she drove to Hollywood, where she studied with acting teacher Robert Carnegie at Playhouse West. During this time, she worked as a hostess at The Ivy restaurant and lived in a Malibu rental house, which burned down in 1993. Around that time, her half-sister Wynonna Judd leased her a historic farmhouse and 10 acres of land in Williamson County, Tennessee. She moved to Tennessee and lived near her mother Naomi and sister Wynonna.

Career

Judd appeared as Ensign Robin Lefler, a Starfleet officer, in two 1991 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Darmok" and "The Game". From 1991 to 1994, she had a recurring role as Reed, the daughter of Alex (Swoosie Kurtz), on the NBC drama Sisters. She made her feature film debut with a small role in 1992's Kuffs. In 1993, Judd fought for and was cast in her first starring role playing the title character in Victor Nuñez's Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize dramatic winner Ruby in Paradise. Convinced that this role would shape the rest of her career, Judd was extremely nervous for the audition, nearly getting into a car accident en route. "From the first three sentences, I knew it was written for me", she told the San Jose Mercury News. She received rave reviews playing Ruby Lee Gissing, a young woman trying to make a new life for herself, and it was this performance that would launch her career as an actress. Nuñez told author James L. Dickerson that the resonance of the character was Judd's creation: "The resonance, those moments, was not contrived. It was just a matter of creating the scene and trusting that it was worth telling."

Oliver Stone, who had seen her in Nuñez's film, cast Judd in Natural Born Killers, but her scenes were later cut from the version of the film released theatrically. The following year, she gained further critical acclaim for her role as Harvey Keitel's estranged daughter in Wayne Wang's Smoke and also as Val Kilmer's wife in Michael Mann's Heat. That same year she also played the role of Callie in Philip Ridley's dark, adult fairy tale, The Passion of Darkly Noon. In 1996, she co-starred with Mira Sorvino as Marilyn Monroe in Norma Jean and Marilyn, where she recreated the photo shoot for the centerfold for the first issue of Playboy. By the end of the 1990s, Judd had managed to achieve significant fame and success as a leading actress, after leading roles in several thrillers that performed well at the box office, including Kiss the Girls in 1997 and 1999's Double Jeopardy.

Several of her early 2000s films, including 2001's Someone Like You and 2002's High Crimes, received only mixed reviews and moderate box office success; although she did receive positive recognition, and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress, for her performance in the 2004 biography of Cole Porter, De-Lovely, opposite Kevin Kline. In the same year, however, she starred in Twisted, the worst-reviewed movie of 2004 with 131 of 133 critics panning it. To date, Twisted is the last major Hollywood film in which she received top billing.

In June 2007, Goody's Family Clothing announced they were going to be releasing three fashion clothing lines with Judd in the fall to be called "AJ", "Love Ashley" and "Ashley Judd". Goody's declared bankruptcy a year later due to slow sales and its last store closed in February 2009.

Judd is currently the magazine advertising "face" of American Beauty, an Estée Lauder cosmetic brand sold exclusively at Kohl's department stores, and H. Stern jewelers. In early 2012, however, her image suddenly disappeared from American Beauty's website.

In 2011, Judd co-starred with Patrick Dempsey in the film Flypaper. It grossed only $1,100 total in its very limited theatrical release and received a 17% Rotten Tomatoes rating (15 of 18 critics panned it). That April, Judd released her memoir All That is Bitter and Sweet, where she talks about her trials and tribulations from adolescence to adulthood. In 2012, Judd starred as Rebecca Winstone on the ABC series Missing. The series was not renewed for a second season.

In 2014, Judd appeared as Natalie Prior in Divergent, which she reprised in the 2015 sequel Insurgent.

In 2014, Judd was the narrator of the documentary film about Turkish preacher Fethullah Gülen, Love is a Verb, directed by Terry Spencer Hesser.

In 2015, Judd became the first woman to narrate the opening for the telecast of the Kentucky Derby.

Personal life

In December 1999, Judd became engaged to Scottish racing driver Dario Franchitti, who was driving in the Champ Car World Series. Since the demise of the Champ Car World Series, Franchitti has raced in IndyCar and NASCAR. They married in December 2001 at Skibo Castle. They had no children together, with Judd telling the Sunday Mail that "it's unconscionable to breed with the number of children who are starving to death in impoverished countries". They divorced in 2013.

Judd attends University of Kentucky basketball games regularly (frequently sitting in the student section), and has also attended several Kentucky football games.

In February 2006, Judd entered a program at Shades of Hope Treatment Center in Buffalo Gap, Texas, and stayed for 47 days. She was there for treatment of depression, insomnia, and codependency.

A disagreement between Judd and Indy race car driver Milka Duno took place during the 2007 IndyCar season. After the final race, she stated to the media: "I know this is not very sportsmanlike, but they've got to get the 23 car (Duno) off the track. It's very dangerous. I'm tired of holding my tongue. She shouldn't be out there. When a car is 10 miles off the pace, it's not appropriate to be racing. People's lives are at stake."

By May 2007, Judd had completed a bachelor's degree in French at the University of Kentucky. She said that she had completed her degree requirements in 1990 with 27 more credit hours taken than the required 120 hours, but had mistakenly thought she was one class short of the necessary requirements. At this time, she realized that she only needed to "sign a piece of paper" to graduate and receive her diploma.

Judd was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Union College in Barbourville, Kentucky, on May 9, 2009. She subsequently earned a Mid-Career Master of Public Administration degree (MC/MPA) from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2010 through the Mid-Career Master of Public Administration program.

In August 2016, Judd enrolled at UC Berkeley to pursue a PhD in Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy. Six weeks later she took a medical leave of absence citing siege headaches. As of March 2018 she had not returned to the program.

In October 2015, Judd told Variety that she had been sexually harassed by a studio mogul, but did not name the person. In October 2017, she said the person was Harvey Weinstein, co-founder of Miramax, and said that the sexual harassment occurred during the filming of Kiss the Girls.

Humanitarian work

Judd's humanitarian work has revolved around AIDS. Judd has travelled with YouthAIDS to places affected by illness and poverty such as Cambodia, Kenya, and Rwanda. She has since become an advocate for preventing poverty and promoting awareness internationally. She has met with political and religious leaders on behalf of the deprived about political and social change. Judd has also narrated three documentaries for YouthAIDS that aired on the Discovery Channel, in National Geographic, and on VH1.

In 2011, she joined the Leadership Council of the International Center for Research on Women. Other organizations Judd has been involved with include Women for Women International and Equality Now.

Judd is active on the speakers' circuit, giving speeches about humanitarian topics.

Other work

Judd has supported the following charities and foundations:

  • Children's Medical Research Institute
  • Creative Coalition
  • Defenders of Wildlife
  • Eracism Foundation
  • Five & Alive
  • Jeans for Genes
  • International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
  • Listen Campaign
  • Malaria No More
  • Population Services International
  • SixDegrees.org
  • YouthAIDS
  • Women for Women International
  • Equality Now
  • San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center

Political activities

In 2008, Judd supported Barack Obama's presidential campaign. In 2009, she appeared in a one-minute video advertisement for the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, in which Judd condemned Alaska governor Sarah Palin for supporting aerial wolf hunting. In response, Palin stated the reason these wolves are killed is to protect the caribou population in Alaska. Palin called the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund an "extreme fringe group". In 2010, Judd signed the Animal Legal Defense Fund's petition to urge Governor Steve Beshear to protect Kentucky's homeless animals through tough enforcement of the state's Humane Shelter Law.

Judd is active in humanitarian and political causes. She was appointed Global Ambassador for YouthAIDS, an education and prevention program of the international NGO Population Services International (PSI), promoting AIDS prevention and treatment. Judd was honored November 10, 2009, as the recipient of the fourth annual USA Today Hollywood Hero, awarded for her work with PSI. On October 29, 2006, Judd appeared at a "Women for Ford" event for Democratic Tennessee Senate candidate Harold Ford, Jr. She has also campaigned extensively locally and nationally for a variety of Democratic candidates, including President Barack Obama in critical swing states.

On September 8, 2010, CNN interviewed Judd about her second humanitarian mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Judd traveled with the Enough Project, a project to end genocide and crimes against humanity. In the interview, Judd discussed her efforts to raise awareness about how conflict minerals fuel sexual violence in Congo. During her trip, Judd visited hospitals for victims of sexual violence, camps for displaced persons, mines, and civil society organizations. On September 30, 2010, cnn.com published an op-ed titled "Ashley Judd: Electronics fuel unspeakable violence" by Judd and Enough Project co-founder John Prendergast regarding the continued violence in Congo. Her op-ed discussed the recent provision in the Dodd-Frank Reform bill that requires companies to prove where their minerals originated. On November 26, 2010, The Huffington Post published an op-ed by Judd, "Costs of Convenience". The op-ed is excerpted from Ashley Judd's trip diary from her trip to eastern Congo. Judd describes the link between her cell phone, laptop, MP3 player and e-reader and the continued rape and sexual violence in Congo. Judd also explains the immediate need for electronics companies to commit to tracing, auditing, and certifying the minerals in their products to guarantee a clean supply chain.

Judd again supported Democrats in the 2012 elections, endorsing President Barack Obama for re-election although she did not contribute financially to his campaign. She represented Tennessee as a delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention. She also considered returning to Kentucky and challenging U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in 2014. In response, the Conservative Super PAC "American Crossroads" released an attack ad against Judd in Kentucky.

In February 2013, she invited her Twitter followers to join a mailing list, hinting that she might ultimately announce a run for the Senate to those on the list. However, she announced on her Twitter feed on March 27, 2013, that she would not run, citing her "need to be focused on my family". Judd endorsed Alison Lundergan Grimes, Secretary of State of Kentucky after she announced her candidacy.

Judd took part in the 2017 Women's March. She performed a poem written by Nashville-area poet Nina Donovan, "Nasty Woman", to applause from the crowd.

Filmography

Film

Year Title Role Notes
1992 Kuffs Paint store owner's wife
1993 Ruby in Paradise Ruby Lee Gissing
1994 Love Can Build a Bridge Herself
1995 Heat Charlene Shiherlis
1995 Smoke Felicity
1995 Passion of Darkly Noon, TheThe Passion of Darkly Noon Callie
1996 A Time to Kill Carla Brigance
1996 Normal Life Pam Anderson
1997 Kiss the Girls Dr. Kate McTiernan
1997 Locusts, TheThe Locusts Kitty
1998 Simon Birch Rebecca Wenteworth
1999 Double Jeopardy Elizabeth "Libby" Parsons
1999 Eye of the Beholder Joanna Eris
2000 Where the Heart Is Lexie Coop
2001 Someone Like You Jane Goodale
2002 Frida Tina Modotti
2002 Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood Younger Vivi Abbott Walker
2002 High Crimes Claire Kubik
2004 De-Lovely Linda Porter
2004 Twisted Jessica Shepard
2006 Come Early Morning Lucy Fowler
2007 Bug Agnes White
2007 India's Hidden Plague Herself
2009 Helen Helen Leonard
2009 Crossing Over Denise Frankel
2010 Tooth Fairy Carly Harris-Thompson
2011 Dolphin Tale Lorraine Nelson
2011 Flypaper Kaitlin
2013 Olympus Has Fallen First Lady Margaret Asher
2014 Divergent Natalie Prior
2014 The Identical Louise Wade
2014 Dolphin Tale 2 Lorraine Nelson
2014 Big Stone Gap Ave Maria Mulligan
2014 Love is a Verb Narrator
2015 The Divergent Series: Insurgent Natalie Prior
2016 The Divergent Series: Allegiant Natalie Prior
2016 Barry Ann Dunham
2016 Good Kids Gabby
2017 Trafficked Diane
2017 Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated Herself Documentary

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1991 Star Trek: The Next Generation Ensign Robin Lefler Episodes: "Darmok" and "The Game"
1991-94 Sisters Reed Halsey 32 episodes
1994 Space Ghost Coast to Coast Herself Episode: "Elevator"
1996 Norma Jean & Marilyn Norma Jean Television film
2012 Missing Becca Winstone 10 episodes
2013 Call Me Crazy: A Five Film Directed "Maggie" segment
2017 Twin Peaks Beverly Paige 4 episodes
Berlin Station BB Yates 9 episodes

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1993 Chicago Film Critics Association Award Most Promising Actress Ruby in Paradise Won
Independent Spirit Award Best Lead Female Won
National Society of Film Critics Award Best Actress Nominated
New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Actress Nominated
1995 Golden Globe Award Best Actress - Miniseries or Television Film Norma Jean & Marilyn Nominated
1996 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie Nominated
1998 Blockbuster Entertainment Award Favorite Actress - Video Kiss the Girls Nominated
Favorite Actress - Suspense Nominated
Satellite Award Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture Nominated
2000 Blockbuster Entertainment Award Favorite Actress - Suspense Double Jeopardy Won
MTV Movie Award Best Female Performance Nominated
2004 Golden Globe Award Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy De-Lovely Nominated
2007 Saturn Award Best Actress Bug Nominated
2012 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie Missing Nominated

Honors

  • Kentucky Colonel
  • Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Union College, Barbourville, Kentucky
Charities

Ashley Judd supports the following charitable causes: AIDS, Environment, Teens, Heart Disease.

[ Source: Wikipedia ]