Hollywood’s other Judy, Judy Holliday, was born and educated in New York City. She began working with a ragtag group of friends, including Betty Comden, Adolph Green and a wannabee composer named Leonard Bernstein in comedy and musical reviews around Greenwich Village until she was tapped to replace Jean Arthur in the stage version of Born Yesterday right before the play opened in New York.
The film adaptation of Garson Kanin’s hit 1946 Broadway play, Born Yesterday, introduced to the wide world the incandescent Judy Holliday with the role she was destined to play, that of Billie Dawn. Holliday brought a nuance and pathos to the character, capturing a woman whose life of “blissful ignorance” can’t stop the growing realization there’s an entire universe she knows nothing about, and furthermore, a better life she could be living.
This week’s question: From Stage to Screen: What’s your favorite screen performance of someone who originated a role on stage?
“It’s amazing how often even very successful actors are not asked to reprise their roles when the movie version comes out. Betty Hutton replacing Ethel Merman in Annie Get Your Gun. Audrey Hepburn replacing Julie Andrews in My Fair Lady. But then again there’s only one Barbra Streisand, and it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing Fanny Brice on stage or on screen,” said host Richard Peña.