Ashley JuddAn eighth generation Eastern Kentuckian, Ashley Judd first proved her acting abilities in her debut film role as Ruby Lee Gissing in the acclaimed "Ruby In Paradise." Having won major acting awards worldwide, Judd has demonstrated her range in a variety of genres, most recently appearing in "Dolphin Tale" alongside Morgan Freeman, Harry Connick Jr. and Kris Kristofferson.
In 2010 Judd co-starred with Dwayne Johnson in the comedy and fantasy film "Tooth Fairy." In 2009 she was in the independent film "Helen." In 2006 she starred in "Come Early Morning," written and directed by Joey Lauren Adams, and "Bug," written by Tracy Letts and directed by William Friedkin. "Bug" won the International Press Award in Cannes, and Judd's performance earned her critical acclaim. The film was embraced by critics at the Sundance Film Festival, marking Judd's first time back at the Festival since her debut in "Ruby in Paradise."
On the small screen, Judd appeared in a National Geographic documentary about her travels to India in early 2007 as Global Ambassador for YouthAids. The documentary aired on December 1st, World Aids Day. In 2006 another documentary on The Learning Channel featured her travels to Central America with her friend, colleague, actor, feminist and human rights activist Salma Hayek. Still for television, Judd received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for her portrayal of Norma Jean Dougherty in "Norma Jean & Marilyn" (1996).
In 2004, Judd delivered an emotional performance as socialite Linda Lee Porter in the Cole Porter bio-pic, "De Lovely," for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination. Also in 2004 she starred in the film "Twisted," as well as on Broadway for six months in the leading role of Maggie in Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."
In 2002 Judd made a small but significant appearance as Tina Modotti in the Julie Taymore-directed "Frida Kahlo." In addition, she had a strong supporting role in "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood," alongside Sandra Bullock, Ellen Burstyn, Maggie Smith and James Garner. Also that year she starred in "High Crimes," re-teaming her with "Kiss the Girls" (1997) co-star Morgan Freeman, and starred with Greg Kinnear and Hugh Jackman in "Someone Like You."
Other film credits include "Where the Heart Is," opposite Natalie Portman; "Double Jeopardy," opposite Tommy Lee Jones; "Eye of the Beholder" with Ewan McGregor; "Simon Birch," based on the John Irving novel, A Prayer for Owen Meaney; "The Locusts," opposite Vince Vaughn and Kate Capshaw; "Heat," for which she won critical acclaim opposite Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino and Val Kilmer; and "A Time to Kill," opposite Samuel L. Jackson, Sandra Bullock and Matthew McConaughey.
Judd made her debut theatre performance in the Naked Angels' production of "Busted," directed by Timothy Hutton. She 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 "Smoke" as the daughter of Harvey Keitel and Stockard Channing.
Judd is on the board of directors for PSI (Population Services International), a Washington, DC-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. Judd joined PSI as a board member in 2004, after serving as Global Ambassador for PSI's HIV education and prevention program, YouthAIDS, since 2002. She 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, and seeks to help educate people about global poverty and finding solutions to social injustice and gender inequality.
Judd has been 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, she 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 - the alleviation of gender inequality and poverty. She has visited legislators on Capitol Hill, addressed the General Assembly of the UN on the scourge human trafficking, spoken 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.
Judd has also served 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, she 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.
HOMETOWN: Granada Hills, CA
BIRTHDATE: April 19