born Judith May Hess in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Judy was no stranger to show business. her father played trumpet with the likes of Benny Goodman and Paul Whiteman, and her mother was a former Ziegfeld Follies dancer. she began acting as a teenager, appearing on Howdy Doody at 17, after which she returned to the stage where she was soon 'discovered'. Judy appeared in two films, the last of which was Elvis' third film, Jailhouse Rock (1957).
during the making of the film Elvis became infatuated with Judy, and the two spent a lot of time together on and off the set.
just three days after shooting was completed, Judy and her husband were driving home from Hollywood to New York when he swerved to avoid hitting a truck and collided with another. she died instantly, he the following morning; she just 23 years old, he 19. sadly, Judy never had the opportunity to see her performances in either of her two films. Elvis' friends say that he was so upset by her death that he couldn't bear to watch "Jailhouse Rock", and has never seen the film.