Early life, family, educational background
American actress Judith Hoag was born on 29 June 1968, in Newburyport, Massachusetts, USA. Her parents took her and her brothers to Broadway productions from a young age, which led to her love for acting. When Judith was 13, she began acting on stage – according to the ‘About’ page on her website, “judithhoag.com,” she said, ‘I’ve always wanted to be an actress. Always… My defining moment came in the 5th grade when I played the role of Benjamin Franklin… I told anyone who’d listen that I was going to be an actress.’
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In the summer before she started 7th grade, her family moved back to Newburyport from Ossining, New York.
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She felt like she did not fit in anywhere and looked for fellow actors and places to act; her determination led her to the local community theater. Judith was the youngest founding member of The Theater of Newburyport. She was failing high school because she would bunk school to go to the theater to smoke cigarettes and drink coffee.
She had to find a way to receive an education and follow her dreams, so she found the Walnut High School for the Arts. The school was fairly expensive, and although her parents were not wealthy, her mother worked hard so they could afford to send Judith there.
Following her matriculation, she spent her summer at The Williamstown Theater Festival. At the premiere of “The Greeks” at the festival, she ended up half-naked with Christopher Reeves, who played Superman. Judith decided to join the Boston theater instead of attending college. She did, however, study acting for several years with Diana Castle.
She moved to New York and worked at The America Place Theatre in “The Times and Appetites of Toulouse-Lautrec,” an off-Broadway play.
From 1986 to 1988, she played series regular Charlotte ‘Lotty’ Bates Alden in “Loving,” an ABC soap opera, with other cast members include Celeste Holme, Cherry Jones and Bryan Cranston.
She then played the female lead, Melissa Shaw Elliot, in the CBS comedy, “Wolf,” from 1989 to 1990, but show was canceled after its first season. In 1990 she played Molly in the television film “Fine Things” by Danielle Steel, and the following year she starred opposite Bonnie Bedelia in another television film, “Switched at Birth” as Barbara Mays.
From 1998 to 2006, she played Gwen Cromwell Piper in all four of the Disney original television film series, “Halloweentown.” From 2006 to 2011, she appeared as Cindy Dutton Price in the HBO drama series, “Big Love.”
Judith played the sister of Rayna Jaymes, Tandy Hampton, in the long-running ABC drama series “Nashville” from 2012 to 2018, appearing in 40 episodes. The show was created by Academy Award winner Callie Khouri, and followed the lives of fictitious country singers. Connie Britton stars as Rayna Jaymes, a famous country singer whose career was suffering. Judith’s character is the protégé and daughter of Lamar Wyatt, played by Powers Boothe. Tandy continuously tries to mediate the relationship between her sister and their father.
She played Stephanie Quinn from 2016 to 2020 in the Syfy fantasy series, “The Magicians” as the mother of Olivia Taylor Dudley’s character.
Judith has also made guest appearances in more than 60 television shows, including “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “Six Feet Under,” “Sons of Anarchy” and many others.
In 1990 she played Kate Burn in “A Matter of Degrees”, and that same year was cast as Molly in “Cadillac Man,” which starred Robin Williams and Tim Robbins and was directed by Roger Donaldson. The American black comedy follows Robin’s character, Joey O’Brien, a car salesman whose dealership is taken hostage by Tim’s character, Larry, a crazed motorcyclist. The film did not do well at the box office, and received mixed reviews, but earned $27.6 million and was budgeted at $15 million.
In 1990 she also played reporter April O’Neil in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, a box office hit despite being a low-budget indie, bringing in over $200 million, the fifth highest-grossing film in 1990 in the US, and ninth worldwide, ahead of more popular and anticipated films such as “Die Hard 2” and “Total Recall.” In an interview with Variety, Judith revealed that she almost turned the role down because she thought it was a horror. She admitted that she did not know about the comic books, but Robin Williams was a big fan and had collected the comics, adding that he was excited about the movie, and brought his children to the premiere.
She booked the role while filming “Cadillac Man,” so she had to fly to North Carolina over the weekends to film. Surprisingly, she said that although the movie was a huge success, she does not enjoy watching it because she is dissatisfied with the final product, and that ‘it lost a lot of its soul,’ but made sure to praise Elias Koteas’s performance. She explained that she enjoyed filming, but a producer cut a ‘mystical through-line’ scene because he regarded it as ‘fluff.’ He said that ‘… all the kids wanted to see was the fighting,’ but ‘I disagreed with him then, and I disagree with him now.’
Her annoyance over the ‘fluff’ scene was one of the reasons that she chose not to return for the sequels, 1991’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze” and 1993’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III.” Her other reasons were that she wanted a raise and for conditions to improve on set.
Her role was recast, and she was replaced by Paige Turco. However, Judith said she was never asked to reprise her role, and directed that decision to when she complained to the producers at Golden Harvest. She told them the violent scenes added to the New Line Cinema release ruined the film, and filming for long hours six days a week was too difficult, ‘I think they thought I was too demanding and moved on.’
For “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” she filmed a cameo, but it was cut in the final version.
In 1998 she played Denise Chappel in “Armageddon,” a film directed by Michael Bay. In 2009 she played Vicki in “Flying By,” a Medical Resident in 2010’s “A Nightmare On Elm Street,” Sarah’s Mom in “I Am Number Four” in 2011 and Lillian in 2012’s “Hitchcock.” Her most recent role in a film was in the 2018 romantic drama, “Forever My Girl,” as the supporting role of Dr. Whitman.
Judith began a production company with her producing partner, Philip Stone, called ACE/Associated Cinema Enterprises LA/Nashville.
— Judith Hoag (@Heyjude629) May 3, 2020
She has a virtual acting academy on which she has coached and taught for several years. Actors Mind Mastery is a program focused on helping actors remain mentally healthy, while still working hard to become successful. This is done by combining mindfulness techniques and the latest research in brain science.
On 30 July 1988, she married actor Vince Grant, but they divorced in 2016. He is best known for appearing in the third season of “Star Trek” as Yarrick. They have a son and a daughter together.
Judith is 5ft 7in (1.7m) and weighs 115lbs (52kgs). She has red hair and blue eyes.
Net worth and salary
Her net worth is estimated at over $5 million, as of mid-2020.