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ASHLEY JUDD (Lorraine Nelson) has been recognized for her work as an acclaimed actress, as well as for her philanthropic efforts on behalf of a number of worthy causes.

Judd first gained attention from critics and audiences in Victor Nunez's 1993 film "Ruby in Paradise.” She won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Actress, as well as the Emerging Actress Award from the Chicago Film Critics Association, for her performance in the movie's title role. In 2004, she earned a Golden Globe nomination in the category of Best Actress – Musical or Comedy for her portrayal of Linda Lee Porter in "De-Lovely,” the Cole Porter biopic directed by Irwin Winkler.

Judd's recent film credits include the indie film "Flypaper,” with Patrick Dempsey; the family comedy "Tooth Fairy,” with Dwayne Johnson; Wayne Kramer's drama "Crossing Over,” with Harrison Ford; the title role in Sandra Nettelbeck's drama "Helen,” which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival; William Friedkin's horror thriller "Bug”; and Philip Kaufman's thriller "Twisted.”

Her previous notable film work includes Julie Taymor's acclaimed biopic "Frida”; Callie Khouri's "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood”; "High Crimes,” with Morgan Freeman; "Someone Like You”; "Where the Heart Is”; the Bruce Beresford-directed smash hit thriller "Double Jeopardy,” with Tommy Lee Jones; "Eye of the Beholder”; "Simon Birch”; "Kiss the Girls,” directed by Gary Fleder and also starring Freeman; Joel Schumacher's "A Time to Kill”; Michael Mann's "Heat,” with Al Pacino and Robert De Niro; and Wayne Wang's "Smoke.”

On the small screen, Judd next stars in the ABC one-hour drama "Missing,” which will premiere in January 2012. In 1996, she earned Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominations for her performance as Norma Jean in the HBO movie "Norma Jean & Marilyn.”

Judd has also received applause for her work on the Broadway stage. She starred in the 2003/04 revival of Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” taking on the role of the tempestuous Maggie. Ten years earlier, she played Madge Owens in the 1994 revival of William Inge's "Picnic.” She had made her stage debut in 1993 in the Naked Angels' production of "Busted,” directed by Timothy Hutton.

Apart from her busy acting career, Judd has traveled the world as a passionate advocate and spokesperson for a variety of human rights and environmental organizations. A 2007 National Geographic documentary featured Judd's travels to India as part of her commitment as the Global Ambassador for YouthAids. Her efforts have also been spotlighted in documentaries for the Learning Channel and VH1.

Judd is on the board of directors of Population Services International (PSI), which strives to improve the lives and health of the poor and other vulnerable people in developing nations. Among her endeavors on the environmental front, she is on the board of directors of Defenders of Wildlife. She has also visited legislators on Capitol Hill, addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations on the scourge of human trafficking, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for the protection of women, and served as an expert panelist at Clinton Global Initiative on the subjects of safe water and the empowerment of girls.

An eighth-generation Eastern Kentuckian, Judd graduated with honors from the University of Kentucky, where she majored in French. In May 2010, she received her mid-career Masters in Public Administration from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. She was also awarded the Dean's Scholar Award for her work in the Harvard Law class Gender Violence: Law and Social Justice.

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