Annaleigh Ashford Will Star in Judy Holliday Biopic

Film & TV News   Annaleigh Ashford Will Star in Judy Holliday Biopic
The Tony winner will play the stage and screen star in Smart Blonde.
Annaleigh Ashford Bruce Glikas/Getty Images

Annaleigh Ashford has landed the central role in Smart Blonde, the upcoming film exploring the life and career of Oscar and Tony winner Judy Holliday.

Judy Holliday in Bells Are Ringing
Judy Holliday in Bells Are Ringing Friedman-Abeles / The New York Public Library

Gene Kirkwood is set to produce the biopic, according to Deadline; he acquired the life rights and select music rights last year. At the time Pulitzer winner Willy Holtzman was attached to pen the script. No word yet on additional creative team members or a production timeline.

Holliday managed to find success bringing the same roles to both stage and screen. After starring as Billie Dawn in 1946's Born Yesterday, she won an Oscar for the film adaptation. She also reprised her Tony-winning turn as Ella Peterson in Bells Are Ringing in the 1960 movie musical. Before then, however, she was noted in Hollywood for speaking out against the sexual coercion perpetrated by Fox mogul Darryl F. Zanuck.

She was subsequently investigated as a communist in the '50s, and during the hearings, was advised to channel Billie Dawn and use the "dumb blonde" trope to her advantage.

Ashford, a Tony winner for You Can't Take It With You, last appeared on Broadway in the revival of Sunday in the Park With George. Her previous screen credits include Masters of Sex, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, and Fox's Rocky Horror Picture Show remake.

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