Judith Whitmore is a best-selling author and performing vocal artist from Orange County, California. A true modern-day Renaissance woman named after the legendary singer Judy Garland (a friend of her grandfather from his days in the MGM Studio Orchestra), Judith was born in New York City and raised in Southern California. Her parents’ passion for music and musicals fueled her desire to build a life on what she loved most: her family, flying, and the performing arts, the latter inspiring her to write, produce, and sing on stages across the USA.
Judith’s first foray as a vocal artist and performer began in college where she sang background vocals for Capitol Records. With a promising career ahead of her, Judith instead chose to follow another path. Marrying young, she and her husband had two children before embarking on a new adventure that took them away from the glamour of Beverly Hills and into the Rocky Mountain paradise of Aspen, Colorado. There, Judith learned to ski, can peaches, and saddle a horse while maintaining 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, Julie Harris, John Travolta and Charles Durning.
It was also in Aspen Judith befriended her closest neighbors, Annie and John Denver, who coaxed her to confront her fear of flying and board his private plane, Windstar One. The experience was so powerful that it wasn’t long before Judith began to pursue—and earn—her pilot’s license, eventually working search-and-rescue missions for Pitkin County (Aspen) Air Rescue. She later flew seaplanes and took up hot-air ballooning. (Listen to Judith 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, Judith 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, Judith went back to college, earned a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, and practiced from an office in Brentwood for eight years.
When the time came for an exciting new life chapter, Judith moved to Orange County where she wrote Come Fly with Me, a novel inspired by her own life in the clouds. This best-selling book has won numerous awards, including first place for women’s fiction at The Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference, Editor’s Choice Award at San Diego State University’s 17th Annual Writer’s Conference, and finalist at the 2014 National Indie Excellence Book Awards. This best-selling author of Come Fly with Me, is also the author of a cookbook-memoire titled All Time Favorites: Recipes from Family and Friends, and William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, an illustrated re-writing of Shakespeare’s story, co-authored with her husband.
In Orange County, Judith also reunited with old friends, all of whom had planned on a life in musical theater but whose real-life responsibilities sent them down different paths. At a time when most people would be planning for retirement, they made a bold decision to resurrect their faded dreams. They performed in concerts at Shady Canyon Country Club and Winifred Smith Hall at UC Irvine before making their daring debut at New York’s Carnegie Hall in the fall of 2014.
The trio, ACT THREE, has since embarked on a musical journey, with a diverse repertoire extending from the great American standards to Broadway and jazz. Their latest show, Return to the Cocoanut Grove, paid tribute to the Big Band era, featuring the timeless music of Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Vernon Duke and Johnny Mercer. ACT THREE is also featured in the award-winning documentary film, Once Upon a Dream, which chronicles their journey to Carnegie Hall. The group’s debut CD was just released.
Judith’s dream to become a vocal artist and writer has taken flight and there’s no end in sight to her adventures. She performs on stage as part of the trio, ACT THREE, and continues to fly—where nothing but the sky is the limit.