Monday, September 7, 2015

RIP Judy Carne

Judy Carne dies: Northampton's 'Sock it to me' girl dies aged 76

Northant’s Herald & Post
By Nick Bieber
September 7, 2015

Northampton comedy actress and 'sock it to me' girl Judy Carne has died aged 76.

The Laugh-In star, born Joyce Audrey Botterill in 1939, died on Thursday, September 3, at Northampton General Hospital.

Tributes have been pouring in for the actress - who had been living in the village of Pitsford, near Northampton - with friends describing her as a 'lovely lady'.

Carne's niece, Marnie Butcher, said she has been left feeling 'very sad' by her auntie's passing, and said in a Facebook post: "RIP Judy Carne, you're not suffering anymore."

Pitsford resident Jo Woolard, a friend of Carne, told the Northants Herald and Post: "She was such a lovely lady and it was really nice having a celebrity in the village.

"It is very sad that she has died and I know many people in the village will feel the same.

"She always kept herself to herself whilst living here, but we often saw her walking her two dogs. In fact, that's how I first met her. She had lost one of her dogs and I found it. The postman said it belonged to Joyce, and then we met."

A Facebook page called 'Northampton old faces' has also seen tributes flooding in, with Caroline Farrell posting: "Very sad news. Lovely lady, met her a few times at dog training classes many years ago. Thoughts are with her family and friends."

Marie Hanlon wrote: "RIP thoughts and prayers are with her family xx". Phil Thompson said: "Sock it to 'em Judy. God bless you."

Carne, who is best remembered for the phrase 'Sock it to me' on the 1960s comedy show Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, grew up in Kingsthorpe. Northampton.

Her parents Harold and Kathy owned a fruit and veg shop in the area, while Carne - as a child - began to develop a talent for acting.

She received training at the Pitt-Draffen Academy of Dance, before being accepted into the prestigious Bush-Davis Theatrical School for Girls in East Grinstead near London.

An instructor at the school began calling her 'Judy', telling her that Joyce was not a good professional name. The second part of Judy's stage name was taken from a character named Sarat Carn in the play Bonaventure by English playwright Charlotte Hastings.

In 1956, Judy Carne made her first television performance in a British program titled The First Day of Spring.

And after building a respectable career on British TV, she was ready to seek fame and fortune in America.

Judy came to the United States in 1962, just ahead of The Beatles and the 'British Invasion'.

Soon, she found herself in Hollywood, acting the role of 'Heather Finch' in a new series called Fair Exchange.

While on a promotional tour for the show, she met an up-and-coming actor named Burt Reynolds.

Judy went on to married Reynolds on June 28, 1963. Their marriage, however, wasn't meant to be and they divorced two years later in 1965.

Looking back at her short-lived union with Reynolds, Judy said at one time: "Actors and actresses shouldn't be together. Each is so involved in himself that there isn't room at the dinner table for the two of them."

Despite their failed marriage and bitter divorce, Burt was there for Judy in later years to help her overcome financial woes and drug abuse. When he guest-hosted The Tonight Show, he invited Judy to appear with him.

By 1966, Judy had a leading role on an American television show, appearing in the romantic comedy Love on a Rooftop opposite the late Pete Duel. But it was in the next show which would see Judy rocket to fame.

In 1968 came along Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, which saw Judy become an instant celebrity on one of the hottest shows on television.

The fast-paced 60s show made a household name of Judy, and it would see Judy often find herself at the receiving end of numerous pranks including being doused with water whenever she mouthed her signature phrase, 'Sock it to me!'.

But after two years on the show, Judy decided not to renew her Laugh-In contract as she feared being typecast and wanted to showcase her singing and dancing talents.

Judy then went on to play the role Polly in a Broadway revival of The Boyfriend, before appearing in a couple of mini-movies, a Las Vegas music act and a television series called Poor Judy. But her success on Laugh-In wasn't to be built upon.

In May 1970, Judy married for a second time, this time to television producer Robert Bergmann. But Judy's marriage to Bergmann was also short-lived, and they divorced in 1971.

During the 1970s, Judy's career had declined severely, and her personal life also suffered with heroin addiction and a near-fatal car crash with ex-husband Bergmann while they were celebrating Judy's acquittal on charges of heroin possession.

After being released from the hospital with a broken neck, she returned to Northampton with her parents who had come to visit her.

In 1985, Judy published her autobiography called 'Laughing on the Outside, Crying on the Inside: The Bittersweet Saga of the Sock-It-To-Me Girl'. It was a book which revealed her descent into a life of drug addiction and debauchery .

In 1993, Judy attended the 25th anniversary of Laugh-In and appeared on a televised Laugh-In Christmas show.

Since then, she had resided at her home with her two dogs in the village of Pitsford, where she enjoyed a quiet life after a journey which saw her become one of the biggest household names in the UK and USA.

In a tribute on Facebook page Northampton old faces, Patricia Keay said: "She was loved on both sides of the pond. I was living in US at the heigh of her stardom. No doubt she will be missed by many friends there too."

CARNE, Judy (Joyce Audrey Botterill)
Born: 4/27/1939, Northampton, Northamptonshire, England, U.K.
Died: 9/3/2015, Northampton, Northamptonshire, England, U.K.

Judy Carne’s westerns – actress:
Bonanaza (TV) – 1963 (Sister Mary Kathleen)
Gunsmoke (TV) – 1966 (Pearl)
The Big Valley (TV) – Bridget Wells
Alias Smith and Jones (TV) – 1971 (Leslie O’Hara)
Cade’s County (TV) – 1972 (Judy)

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