Ashley Judd

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Ashley Judd

Judd at The Paley Center, 2012
BornAshley Tyler Ciminella
(1968-04-19) April 19, 1968 (age 44)
Granada Hills, California, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Kentucky
Harvard University
Years active1991-present
Political partyDemocratic Party
Spouse(s)Dario Franchitti (m. 2001)
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Ashley Judd

Judd at The Paley Center, 2012
BornAshley Tyler Ciminella
(1968-04-19) April 19, 1968 (age 44)
Granada Hills, California, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Kentucky
Harvard University
Years active1991-present
Political partyDemocratic Party
Spouse(s)Dario Franchitti (m. 2001)

Ashley Judd (born Ashley Tyler Ciminella; April 19, 1968) is an American television and film actress, humanitarian and political activist.

Judd 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 played lead roles in films including Ruby in Paradise, Kiss the Girls, Double Jeopardy, Where the Heart Is, Dolphin Tale and High Crimes. She starred as Rebecca Winstone in the television series Missing in 2012.

She is married to IndyCar driver, and three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Dario Franchitti.


Early life

Ashley was born as Ashley Tyler Ciminella in Granada Hills, California. 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.[1][2][3] Ashley's elder half-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.[4][5] 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, and in 1973, her mother took her back to her native Kentucky, where Judd spent the majority of her childhood.[6] She also lived in Marin County, California, for two years during grade school.

Judd attended 13 schools before college, including the Sayre School[7] in Lexington, Kentucky, Paul G. Blazer High School in Ashland, Kentucky and Franklin High School in Tennessee.[8] 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, a move that mirrored her role as Reed in the television series Sisters. She graduated from the UK Honors Program and was nominated to Phi Beta Kappa, but did not graduate with her class.[9] Forgoing her commitment to join the Peace Corps, after college she drove to Hollywood, where she studied with well-respected 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 during the great Malibu fires of fall 1993. Around that time her half-sister Wynonna Judd gave her a historic farmhouse and some land in Williamson County, Tennessee, so she moved to Tennessee. That farmhouse has been her primary residence in the US ever since.


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 Winning, Ruby in Paradise. On her way to the audition, she was so nervous about getting a role that she felt defined her life, she nearly wrecked her car."From the first three sentences, I knew it was written for me," she told the San Jose Mercury News.[10] 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."[11]

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;[12] 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.[13] To date, 'Twisted' is the last major Hollywood film in which she received top billing.

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 web site.[14] 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.

In 2011, Judd co-starred with Patrick Dempsey in the film Flypaper. It grossed only $1,100 total in its theatrical release and received a 17% Rotten Tomatoes rating (15 of 18 critics panned it).[15]

In 2012, Judd starred as Rebecca Winstone on the ABC series Missing. The series aired from March 15 to May 17, 2012.[16] Due to low ratings it was not renewed for a second season.[17]

Personal life

Judd at the second day of qualifications for the 2009 Indianapolis 500

In December 1999, Judd was 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. The couple were married, on December 12, 2001, at Skibo Castle, near Dornoch, Scotland. The couple divide their time between a home in Scotland and their farm outside Franklin, Tennessee, USA. They have no children. She told the Sunday Mail, "It's unconscionable to breed, with the number of children who are starving to death in impoverished countries".[18]

Although Judd is known to attend University of Kentucky basketball games regularly (frequently sitting in the student section), she has also attended several Kentucky football games. Judd has been a guest columnist for a local Kentucky newspaper, writing about the NCAA championships.[citation needed] Judd posed for a poster wearing only an ice hockey jersey for fund raising purposes for the University of Kentucky's hockey team. She is an avid practitioner of yoga, cooking, and gardening.

In February 2006, Judd entered a program at Shades of Hope Treatment Center in Buffalo Gap, Texas and stayed for 47 days.[19] She was there because of personal issues, including depression, insomnia and codependency.[20]

A disagreement between Judd and Indy race car driver Milka Duno took place during the 2007 Indy Racing League season. After the final race of the 2007 season, the actress stated to the assembled news 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 (an hour) off the pace, it's not appropriate to be racing. People's lives are at stake."[21]

On May 9, 2007, it was announced that Judd had completed her bachelor's degree, in French, from the University of Kentucky.[22] In a May 2007 appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Judd explained 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" in order to graduate, and receive her diploma. DeGeneres then surprised Judd by presenting her with her diploma, which Ellen had acquired from the university.

Judd was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Union College in Barbourville, Kentucky on May 9, 2009. Judd subsequently earned a Mid-Career Master in Public Administration degree (MC MPA) from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2010.[23] This is a one-year degree as distinct from the two-year MPA.

On April 5, 2011, Judd released her memoir All That is Bitter and Sweet[24] where she talks about her trials and tribulations from adolescence to adulthood. Judd stirred controversy with comments describing hip hop music as part of what feminists describe as "rape culture", although Judd asserts that she was basing her comments on observation and was not intending to offend.[citation needed]

Judd is a fan of Scottish football club Celtic F.C..[25]

Humanitarian work

As YouthAids Ambassador, Judd announces a counseling and testing center for HIV/AIDS in Cape Town, 2005

Ashley Judd's humanitarian work has revolved around becoming a global ambassador for YouthAIDS, a prevention program under the Population Services International. She has been a member of their Board of Directors since 2004, also. Judd has travelled with YouthAIDS to places affected by illness and poverty such as Cambodia, Kenya, Rwanda, and many others.[26]

Inspired by her travels, which allowed her to witness the life of the poor and uneducated, she has since become an advocate for preventing poverty and promoting awareness internationally. She has met with political and religious leaders, heads of states, diplomats, and leaders on behalf of the deprived to convey the message to those who have the power to bring about political and social change.[26]

Judd has also narrated three documentaries for YouthAIDS which aired internationally on the Discovery Channel, in National Geographic, and on VH1.

In 2011, Judd joined the Leadership Council of the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW).[27]

Other organizations Judd has been involved with include the Women for Women International, and Equality Now, along with other non-governmental organizations which center around bringing attention to social, educational, health, economic, cultural, and financial funding of the unfortunate.[26]

Other work

Judd speaking at the Lincoln Memorial during the opening ceremonies for the first inauguration of Barack Obama

Judd has supported the following charities and foundations:[28]

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.[29] In response, Palin stated the reason these wolves are killed is to protect the caribou population in Alaska, and she called the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund an "extreme fringe group".[30] 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.[31]

Judd meeting with Senator Richard Lugar

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, and speaks and demonstrates at pro-choice events. Judd was honored November 10, 2009 as the recipient of the fourth annual USA TODAY Hollywood Hero, awarded for her work with PSI.[32] 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.[33] 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, published an Op-ed titled "Ashley Judd: Electronics fuel unspeakable violence"[34] by Ashley Judd and the Enough Project's co-founder John Prendergast regarding the continued violence in Congo. Her Op-ed discusses 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 Ashley Judd titled "Costs of Convenience".[35] 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. She represented Tennessee as a delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention. She is also reportedly considering returning to Kentucky and challenging U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in 2014.[36]



1992KuffsPaint store owner's wife
1993Ruby in ParadiseRuby Lee GissingChicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Actress
Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Female
Nominated — National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress
Nominated — New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
1994Natural Born KillersGrace MulberryScenes deleted
1994Love Can Build a BridgeAshley Judd
1995HeatCharlene Shiherlis
1995Passion of Darkly Noon, TheThe Passion of Darkly NoonCallie
1996Time to Kill, AA Time to KillCarla Brigance
1996Norma Jean & MarilynNorma JeanNominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie[37]
1996Normal LifePam Anderson
1997Kiss the GirlsDr. Kate McTiernanNominated — Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actress – Video
Nominated — Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actress – Suspense
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Drama
1997Locusts, TheThe LocustsKitty
1998Simon BirchRebecca Wenteworth
1999Double JeopardyElizabeth "Libby" ParsonsBlockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actress – Suspense
Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best Female Performance
1999Eye of the BeholderJoanna Eris
2000Where the Heart IsLexie Coop
2001Someone Like YouJane Goodale
2002FridaTina Modotti
2002Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya SisterhoodYounger Vivi Abbott WalkerNominated — Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Prism Award for Best Performance in a Theatrical Feature Film
2002High CrimesClaire Kubik
2004De-LovelyLinda PorterNominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
2004TwistedJessica Shepard
2006Come Early MorningLucy
2007BugAgnes WhiteNominated — Saturn Award for Best Actress
2007India's Hidden PlagueHerself
2009Crossing OverDenise Frankel
2010Tooth FairyCarly
2011Dolphin TaleLorraine Nelson
2013Olympus Has Fallen


1991Star Trek: The Next GenerationRobin LeflerEpisodes: "Darmok" and "The Game"
1991–1994SistersReed Halsey32 episodes
2012MissingBecca Winstone10 episodes
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie



  1. ^ Ashley Judd Biography (1968–). USA WEEKEND Magazine
  2. ^ MICHAEL CIMINELLA, 83, JUDD GRANDFATHER, DIES, Lexington Herald-Leader (KY) – May 9, 1997
  3. ^ "Ashley Judd details ‘bitter and sweet’ in memoir". Newsvine. 4 April 2011. Retrieved 2012-05-19.
  4. ^ which also makes her a distant cousin of Elisabeth and Andrew Shue as seen on Who Do You Think You Are?
  5. ^ Ashley Judd's Ancestors are Found on 'Who Do... | Gather. (November 9, 2010). Retrieved on April 11, 2011.
  6. ^ Actress of the Week (2006)
  7. ^ Topsinlex
  8. ^ "Ashley Judd". Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  9. ^ Newman, Judith. "We are Family" Ladies' Home Journal (March 1998, pp. 152–55, 213–14)
  10. ^ Lovell, Glenn. San Jose Mercury News, November 8, 1993
  11. ^ Dickerson, James L. Ashley Judd:Crying on the Inside, Schirmer Trade Books, 2002, p. 75
  12. ^ Susman, Gary. (February 27, 2004) You Be the Judd | Movies. Retrieved on April 11, 2011.
  13. ^ Giles, Jeff (2008-08-07). "Moldy Tomatoes: The 10 Worst Movies of the Last 10 Years - Page 7". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-07-01.
  14. ^ "American Beauty | Home". 2010-06-18. Retrieved 2012-07-01.
  15. ^ "Flypaper". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-07-01.
  16. ^ "ABC Midseason 2012 Schedule". Retrieved January 25, 2012.
  17. ^ "Missing TV show cancelled; no season two | canceled or renewed TV shows". TV Series Finale. 2012-05-12. Retrieved 2012-07-01.
  18. ^ McDonald, Toby (2006-01-29). "ASHLEY: I REFUSE TOHAVE A BABY; Star says 'breeding' is out while kids starve". Sunday Mail. Retrieved 2012-12-05.
  19. ^ Ashley Judd | Judd Lashes Out At Eating Disorder Claims. Contactmusic. Retrieved on April 11, 2011.
  20. ^ The Star Online eCentral – Movies – Malaysia Entertainment. (July 7, 2006). Retrieved on April 11, 2011.
  21. ^ [1][dead link]
  22. ^ Blackford, Linda. Ashley Judd is finally a UK graduate Lexington Herald Leader (May 10, 2007)
  23. ^ Oldenburg, Ann (May 28, 2010), "Ashley Judd gets her Harvard degree", USA Today,, retrieved April 16, 2011
  24. ^ "Coming soon: Ashley Judd's memoir, All That is Bitter and Sweet". Ballatine Books.
  25. ^ [2][dead link]
  26. ^ a b c Ashley Judd's Faces of Philanthropy profile page. Faces of Philanthropy. Retrieved December 16, 2010.
  27. ^ Gaynair, Gillian (21 January 2011). "Actor Ashley Judd Joins ICRW Leadership Council". ICRW. Retrieved 2012-03-19.
  28. ^ Ashley Judd's Charity Work, Events and Causes. Retrieved December 16, 2010.
  29. ^ David Edwards and Stephen C. Webster (February 3, 2009). "Actress Judd goes after Palin over aerial wolf killing".
  30. ^ Peter Hamby (February 4, 2009). "Palin takes on Ashley Judd’s ‘extreme fringe group’". CNN.
  31. ^ Animal Legal Defense Fund : Ashley Judd Petitions Kentucky Governor to Help Homeless Animals. (May 11, 2010). Retrieved on April 11, 2011.
  32. ^ USA TODAY Media Kit :: Press Room :: Press Release :: September 16, 2009. Retrieved on April 11, 2011.
  33. ^ "Ashley Judd confronts Africa’s deadly mineral issue". CNN. September 8, 2009.
  34. ^ Ashley Judd and John Prendergast (September 30, 2010). "Ashley Judd: Electronics fuel unspeakable violence". CNN.
  35. ^ Ashley Judd (November 26, 2010). "Ashley Judd: "Costs of Convenience"". The Huffington Post.
  36. ^ "Ashley Judd doesn't rule out challenge to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell". Courier-Journal. November 8, 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  37. ^ "Ashley Judd Emmy Award Nominee". Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  38. ^ Kentucky Colonels, Honorable Order of. "Colonels website". Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels. Retrieved December 21, 2009.
  39. ^ Union College News Release 02–25–09: Ashley Judd Announced as 2009 Commencement Speaker. (February 25, 2009). Retrieved on April 11, 2011.

External links