She persevered through poverty and domestic violence, and she survived an illness that doctor’s assured her was fatal. And Naomi Judd also served as one-half of one the most famous music duos ever assembled. And now this incredibly impressive woman is poised to celebrate a very special milestone.
Happy Birthday, Naomi Judd!
And that’s because she was born on January 11, 1946, in Ashland, Kentucky, which means that this uber-talented performer is turning 75 years old today! It was 1983 when Judd, a single mother to two daughters (Christina and Ashley), who had put herself through nursing school by working as a cocktail waitress at night, decided to chuck it all and pursue a musical career alongside her eldest.
Diana Ellen Judd, R.N., became Naomi, and Christina became Wynonna, and together the mother-daughter duo became The Judds. The duo signed a recording contract with RCA Records and released their debut single: Had a Dream (For the Heart).
Their second effort, Mama He’s Crazy, took the number one spot on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart, and that success led to the release of their first EP, Wynonna & Naomi, and their first studio album, Why Not Me?
Over the next eight years, The Judds would release a further five albums. Twenty of their latter-day singles would chart on Billboard’s Top 10, 15 of which claimed the number one spot!
Their popularity was such that the duo remained undefeated for eight consecutive years at all three major country music awards shows and even resulted in the receiving of five Grammys in addition to other accolades and honors.
In 1991, at the seemingly pinnacle of their vocation, The Judds disbanded, the direct result of Naomi being diagnosed with Hepatitis C, a disease she apparently contracted during the years she spent working as a nurse.
The illness forced Naomi into near retirement, though not until after she and Wynonna embarked on a Farewell Tour that culminated in a concert that became the then highest-rated event in cable pay-per-view history.
The year that she retired, Judd founded the Naomi Judd Education and Research Fund, which works to raise awareness of Hepatitis C, and became the spokesperson for the American Liver Foundation.
When her illness finally responded to treatment and went into remission, Judd set about entering the next phase of her life and career. First, she returned to acting, an endeavor she had first attempted in 1979 (with the film More American Graffiti) and again in 1983 (in Living Proof: The Hank Williams Jr. Story).
Among her many credits are the made for TV movies Rio Diablo (1993), A Holiday Romance (1999), and The Killing Game (2011), and episodes of The Client (1996), Touched By An Angel (2000), and Maybe It’s Me (2002). Between 2005 and 2006, she hosted the Sunday morning talk show Naomi’s New Morning and she served as a judge on Star Search (2003-2004) and Can You Duet (2008).
Judd also tried her hand at authorship and wound up creating the children’s book series Gertie the Goldfish. She also penned several autobiographies and self-help books. Since 1999, Judd has occasionally reunited with Wynonna for various concerts and charity benefits.
The beloved star has been married to Larry Strickland, formerly a back-up singer for Elvis Presley and a member of the famed Palmetto State Quartet, since May 6, 1989.
Entertainment Hub would like to wish Naomi Judd a very happy birthday, and you can too by clicking on the Twitter link below.