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An eighth-generation Eastern Kentuckian, Ashley Judd first proved her acting abilities in her debut feature film role as Ruby Lee Gissing in Victor Nunez' internationally acclaimed "Ruby in Paradise."Having won major acting awards worldwide, Judd has demonstrated her range in a variety of genres and is a proven box office draw.
Judd is currently filming "Dolphin Tale" in Florida alongside Morgan Freeman, Harry Connick Jr. and Kris Kristofferson. "Dolphin Tale" follows the true story of a young boy who befriends a dolphin whose tail was lost in a crab trap, and is set for a September 16th, 2011 release with Warner Brothers Pictures.
Also upcoming in 2011, Judd co-stars with Patrick Dempsey and Tim Blake Nelson in the independent film "Flypaper," written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore and directed by Rob Minkoff. Judd is a bank teller caught in the middle of two simultaneous robberies, while Dempsey attempts to save her from danger.
In 2009, Judd starred in the independent film "Helen," written and directed by Sandra Nettlebeck.This dramatic story revolves around a music professor named Helen (Judd), who suffers from a deep, debilitating depression, and the only one who can relate to her pain is a young female student. "Helen" premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and was released in theatres on July 30th, 2010.
In January 2010, Judd co-starred with Dwayne Johnson in the 20th Century Fox comedy/fantasy film "Tooth Fairy," as the wife of a hard-hitting minor league hockey player who's sentenced to one week's tooth fairy duty after telling his daughter tooth fairies aren't real.
In 2006, returning to her indie roots, Judd starred in the feature film "Come Early Morning," written and directed by actress Joey Lauren Adams, and in the Lions Gate film "Bug," as a lonely, paranoid, and traumatized recluse."Bug" was written by Tracy Letts, based on his play of the same name and directed by William Friedkin. The film won the International Press Award at Cannes in 2006 and Judd's performance generated a considerable amount of critical acclaim.The film was embraced by critics and audiences at the Sundance Film Festival as well, which was Judd's first time at the Festival since her debut in "Ruby in Paradise."
On the small screen, Judd last appeared as the focus of the National Geographic documentary that featured her travels to India in early 2007 on behalf of her ongoing commitment as Global Ambassador for YouthAids.The documentary aired on December 1st, World Aids Day.In 2006, a similar documentary aired on The Learning Channel that featured Judd's travels to Central America with her friend, colleague, actor, feminist, and human rights activist, Salma Hayek.
In 2004, Judd delivered a heartfelt, emotional performance as socialite Linda Lee Porter in the MGM Studios Cole Porter biopic "De Lovely," for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination.The film chronicled their marriage, which inspired such famous Cole Porter tunes as "Anything Goes." "De Lovely" premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.
In early 2004, Judd starred in "Twisted" for director Philip Kauffman, and also starred on Broadway for six months in the leading role of Maggie in Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.""Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" was produced by Bill Kenwright and directed by Anthony Page and was a success by all standards.
Judd had a very successful and diverse 2002.She had a small, but significant appearance as Tina Modotti in the Julie Taymor directed biopic "Frida Kahlo." In addition, Judd had a strong supporting role in "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood," starring amongst an impressive cast including Sandra Bullock, Ellen Burstyn, Maggie Smith and James Garner.The film was directed by Callie Khouri and was based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Rebecca Wells.
Judd also starred in 20th Century Fox's "High Crimes," which re-teamed her with her "Kiss the Girls" co-star, Morgan Freeman. The film was written by Joseph Finder and directed by Carl Franklin.Also for 20th Century Fox, Judd starred with Greg Kinnear and Hugh Jackman in "Someone Like You" for director Tony Goldwyn. With a turn to the romantic comedy genre, Judd portrayed a producer of a popular daytime talk show who had a romance with the show's executive producer.
Judd's other film credits include "Where the Heart Is" opposite Natalie Portman, Bruce Beresford's box-office success "Double Jeopardy" opposite Tommy Lee Jones for Paramount, as well as "Eye of the Beholder" with Ewan McGregor.Judd also starred in Walt Disney Pictures' 1998 drama "Simon Birch," based on the John Irving novel "A Prayer for Owen Meaney."
In 1997, Judd starred opposite Morgan Freeman in Paramount Pictures' box-office hit "Kiss the Girls," as well as MGM's "The Locusts," in which she co-starred opposite Vince Vaughn and Kate Capshaw.Judd was also seen in Michael Mann's "Heat," for which she won critical acclaim opposite Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino and Val Kilmer. In the summer of 1996, she appeared in Joel Schumacher's "A Time to Kill," opposite Samuel L. Jackson, Sandra Bullock and Matthew McConaughey.In late 1996, she was seen starring opposite Luke Perry in John McNaughton's black comedy "Normal Life." Also in 1996, Judd received an Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe nomination for her portrayal of Norma Jean Dougherty in HBO's "Norma Jean & Marilyn."
Judd made her debut theatre performance in the Naked Angels' production of "Busted," directed by Timothy Hutton. She then went on to star as Madge on Broadway in William Inge's Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Picnic" at the Roundabout Theatre Company, while simultaneously filming an unforgettable supporting role in the Miramax Film "Smoke," portraying the daughter of Harvey Keitel and Stockard Channing.
Judd is also on the board of directors for PSI (Population Services International). Judd joined PSI as board member in 2004 after serving as Global Ambassador for PSI's HIV education and prevention program, YouthAIDS, since 2002.Judd has visited PSI programs in Thailand, Cambodia, Madagascar, Kenya, South Africa, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, India, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In her work, she witnesses the lives of the exploited and poor to help educate the world about the reality of global poverty and bring solutions to the devastating effects of social injustice and gender inequality.
Judd was the subject of three award-winning documentaries aired in more than 150 countries worldwide on VH1, The Discovery Channel, and The National Geographic Channel.In her role as PSI board member, Judd has graced the covers of countless magazines and been the subject of newspaper and television interviews, bringing vital awareness to issues closest to her heart: gender inequality and poverty alleviation. Judd has visited legislators on Capitol Hill; addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations on the scourge human trafficking; spoke at the National Press Club; testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for the protection of vulnerable women from violence, sexual abuse and HIV; and, most recently, served as an expert panelist at Clinton Global Initiative to discuss the issue of safe water and the empowerment of girls in the developing world.
PSI is a D.C.-based nonprofit organization operating in more than 65 countries. With programs in malaria, reproductive health, child survival, and HIV, PSI promotes products, services and healthy behavior that enable low-income and vulnerable people to lead healthier lives.
Recently, Judd has come on board as a spokesperson for the organizations Defenders for Wildlife and The Sierra Club, providing her time and voice to advocate against practices of aerial wolf hunting (Defenders for Wildlife), and mountaintop-removal coal mining (The Sierra Club).
A Phi Beta Kappa nominee and honors program student of the University of Kentucky with a major in French and four minors, Judd studied the Meisner technique in acting when she first went to Hollywood. In May 2010, Judd received her Mid-Career Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Judd resides in Tennessee and Scotland with her husband, international racing star Dario Franchitti. They have eight beloved pets and enjoy a quiet, rural life.