Judy Whitmore

Biography Judy Whitmore

Judy Whitmore

Judy Whitmore
a true modern-day Renaissance woman, heeds the call of the stage, the sky, and beyond. Her life as a vocal artist and writer has taken off, and the sky is the limit. The best-selling author, vocalist, theater producer and pilot, who also holds a Master’s Degree in clinical psychology, approaches all her endeavors with style and spirit. “When you walk alone to the center of the stage, it’s similar to flying,” she observes. “It’s exciting and it’s terrifying at the same time. You step up to the microphone, glance at your musical director, and it’s like hearing the guy in the control tower say ‘cleared for take-off,’ and somehow, you just soar.”

Named after the legendary singer Judy Garland (a friend of her grandfather from his days in the MGM Studio Orchestra), Judy was born in New York City and raised in Studio City, California. Her parents’ passion for the symphony and musical theater fueled her desire for a career in music. Her first foray as a vocal artist and performer began during college when she sang background vocals for Capitol Records in Hollywood. Although she expected to continue on this road, her journey took unexpected and often unbelievable detours.

Marrying young, she and her husband settled in Beverly Hills and had two children. Before long they were embarking on a new adventure that took them away from the glitz and glamour of that storied city. Wanting to raise their children in a more rural environment, they packed up the family and moved to the Rocky Mountain paradise of Aspen, Colorado. There, Judy learned to ski, can peaches, and saddle a horse. She maintained her love of theater, serving as president of both the Aspen Playwright’s Conference and the American Theatre Company, where under her presidency, ATC produced plays that featured Hal Holbrook, Vincent Price, and John Travolta.

It was also in Aspen Judy befriended her closest neighbors, Annie and John Denver. John coaxed her to confront her fear of flying and invited her to board his private plane, Windstar One. The experience was so powerful that it wasn’t long before Judy began to pursue—and earn—her pilot’s license. She eventually became a licensed commercial jet pilot and worked search-and-rescue missions for Pitkin County (Aspen) Air Rescue. She later flew seaplanes, and took up hot-air ballooning. (Listen to Judy describe her confrontation with the fear of flying and her transformation on Tim Benjamin’s “Fear of Flying” podcast.)

Lured back to Los Angeles and the stage, Judy undertook her first independent theater project as the producer of “Taking a Chance on Love” which received a rave review in Variety. From there, she headed to London to co-produce Leonard Bernstein’s “Wonderful Town,” then returned to Southern California where she met the man who would become her second husband. After settling in Pacific Palisades, Judy craved a new life experience. She went back to college, earned a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, and opened a private practice in West Los Angeles.

In due course, it was time for yet another new and exciting move. Judy headed to Newport Beach and enrolled in a series of writing courses at UC Irvine. Her romantic-adventure Come Fly with Me, inspired by her own life as a pilot and penned in 2013, topped the Amazon Kindle Bestseller List. She was recognized with “First Place for Women’s Fiction” at The Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference and the “Editor’s Choice Award” at the San Diego State University’s Writer’s Conference. Other literary credits include All Time Favorites: Recipes From Family and Friends and an illustrated retelling of William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.

Her passion for performing would never be too far out of sight. In 2014, she co-founded ACT THREE with her brother Billy and her neighbor Lynn. The trio brought timeless standards to life at legendary venues including The Ritz Hotel in Paris and both the Metropolitan Room and Carnegie Hall in New York. Once Upon a Dream, the award-winning documentary film, chronicled the trio’s journey to Carnegie Hall.

“I always wanted to sing full-time, but it was never possible. I had to pack my dream of a musical career away in an imaginary box. I tucked it on the highest shelf in my closet and tried to forget about it. I loved being a pilot, and a therapist, and a theater producer, and a writer. I had done all these exciting things, and none of it was easy. But I always felt something was missing,” she admits. “I knew it was time to get that box of dreams out of the closet, cast off the lid and embrace the music career I had always wanted.”

In 2018 Judy ventured onto the stage alone with her show-stopping, cabaret-style vocal act. She’s garnered critical praise from The OC Register and Los Angeles Times who observed “[she] has a bit of a Judy Holliday comedic edge” and “tackled some tough ballads with style.” Her repertoire is diverse, extending from the great American standards to Broadway and jazz. Coming full circle, she seized the moment and returned to Capitol Studios to cut her new album, Can’t We Be Friends, alongside collaborators John Sawoski and GRAMMY® and Emmy Award-winning composer Michael Patterson. Together, they have created a love letter to The Great American Songbook. “This is the music I grew up with, and I don’t want people to forget it. I think it’s one of the most extraordinary bodies of work every created.” Judy currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Pacific Symphony. There’s no end in sight to her adventures.

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