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An eighth generation Eastern Kentuckian, ASHLEY JUDD (Jessica Shepard) first proved her acting abilities in her debut feature film role as Ruby Lee Gissing in Victor Nunez' internationally acclaimed "Ruby In Paradise.” Now a film star in her own right, Judd has demonstrated her range as an actress and is a proven box office draw.

Currently, Judd can be seen on Broadway at the Music Box Theater in the starring role of Maggie in Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” Judd is the first actress to portray Maggie on Broadway since Kathleen Turner in 1990. "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof' is being produced by Bill Kenwright and directed by Anthony Page.

Judd recently completed production on her next role as socialite Linda Lee Porter in the Cole Porter biopic. "De-lovely,” co-starring with Kevin Kline. The film will chronicle their marriage, which inspired such famous Cole Porter tunes as "Anything Goes.” Despite his homosexuality. Porter was so distraught after Linda's death that he never wrote another sony again. "De-lovely” will be directed by Irwin Winkler and was written by Jay Cocks.

On the film front, Judd had a very successful and diverse 2002. She had a small, but significant appearance as Tina Modotti in director Julie Taymor's biopic. "Frida.” In addition, Judd had a strong supporting role in "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood,” starring amongst an impressive cast including Sandra Bullock, Ellen Burstyn, Maggie Smith and James Garner. The film was directed by Callie Khouri and was based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Rebecca Wells.

Judd also starred in Twentieth Century Fox's "High Crimes,” which re-teamed her with "Kiss the Girls” co-star Morgan Freeman. The film was written by Joseph Finder and directed by Carl Franklin. Also for Twentieth Century Fox, Judd starred with Greg Kinnear and Hugh Jackman in "Someone Like You,” for director Tony Goldwyn. With a turn to the romantic comedy genre, Judd portrayed a producer of a popular daytime talk show who had a romance with the show's executive producer.

Judd's other film credits include "Where the Heart Is,” opposite Natalie Portman; Bruce Beresford's box office success "Double Jeopardy,” opposite Tommy Lee Jones, as well as "Eye of the Beholder,” with Ewan McGregor. Judd also starred in Walt Disney Pictures' 1998 drama "Simon Birch,” based on the John Irving novel A Prayer for Owen 
Meane

In 1997, Judd starred opposite Morgan Freeman in the box office hit "Kiss the Girls,” as well as MGM's "The Locusts,” in which she co-starred opposite Vince Vaughn and Kate Capshaw. Judd was also seen in Michael Mann's "Heat,” for which she won critical acclaim opposite Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino and Val Kilmer. In the summer of 1996, she appeared in Joel Schumacher's "A Time to Kill,” opposite Samuel L. Jackson, Sandra Bullock and Matthew McConaughey. In late 1996, she was seen starring opposite Luke Perry in John McNaughton's "Normal Life.”

Also in 1996. Judd received an Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe nomination for her portrayal of Norma Jean in HBO's "Norma Jean and Marilyn.”

Judd made her debut theatre performance in the Naked Angels production of "Busted,” directed by Timothy Hutton. She then 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 a supporting role in Miramax Films' "Smoke,” portraying the daughter of Harvey Keitel and Stockard Channing.

A Phi Beta Kappa and Honors Program student of the University of Kentucky with a major in French and four minors, Judd has studied the Meisner technique in acting for several years.

Judd resides in Tennessee with her husband.

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