Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What happened to Jennifer of the Jungle/ Judy Graubart?

Born in October 1943 in Fort Worth, Texas. Esther Judith "Judy Graubart  grew up in Chicago as a rabbi’s daughter, Graubart honed her acting skills in after-school improvisational classes and programs from age five.



“It was great for me,” she says over coffee at City Bakery. “I was an overweight kid and extremely nearsighted, and being insecure about all of that, so being involved in these little acting groups just pulled me out of that. It allowed me to think I was funny, and…I just loved being a part of dramatic activities.”

She honed her skills further at sleepaway camps following the death of Rabbi Graubart when Judy was eight, but didn’t get serious about performing until her attendance at the University of Chicago.

 “I did some productions in college, which were fine,” she says, “but my real break came because of a boyfriend I had, who was good friends with David Steinberg, and he was with Second City Comedy Group at the time.

Judith planned to be a French teacher since her major was Romance Languages, but she wound up doing in other roles. She loved doing improvisation and she said, "It’s not easy to do well; I think the ability to improvise successfully is there if actors are willing to relax and use it, but it can be hard to do a scene with somebody if they aren’t skilled in it. There were guys I had to work with who would just butcher what we were doing, and then I remember working with someone like Peter Boyle, who was TERRIFIC. I kept think that working with Peter was like talking with someone from your hometown; someone with whom you just speak a common language."

The tour ended in New York, and Graubart transplanted herself here along with other members of the company. Several plays and commercials continued to put bread and butter on Graubart’s table for a time,  Graubart managed to keep the bill collectors from the door and satisfy her artistic self, including the television version of Paul Sills’s “Story Theater,” shot in Canada, and then one day came the opportunity to audition for the new children’s educational program “The Electric Company,” produced by the Children’s Television Workshop.

She landed the job and would stay with the show for its full seven-year run through 1978, creating characters that would delight children all over the country.

“It was such a wonderful feeling to land a show as a regular, a show that was doing some good instead of just being a sitcom or something.” Again she was in illustrious company; Bill Cosby was a regular for the first two seasons, Rita Moreno would be with the show for some time, and other cast members included Todd Graff, Skip Hinnant, Luis Avalos, Hattie Winston, Lee Chamberlin, Melanie Henderson, June Angela, Gregg Burge, Irene Cara, and then-virtually-unknown Morgan Freeman. “It was marvelous that they welded together this group of different ethnic types and different energy levels. I guess I was the low-energy person in the family, except when I was doing a character like Jennifer of the Jungle, swinging on the vine and doing my “Oyoyoyoyoyoyoyoyoy” yell.”




She is married to Bob Dishy. They have two children.
Judy Graubart

http://themartinreport.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/getting-dishy-with-judy-graubart/


No comments: