Pernell's Second Wife: Judith Roberts

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Pernell's Second Wife: Judith Roberts

Post by A Ponderosa Pine » Sat May 31, 2008 8:23 pm


On October 15, 1962, Pernell married actress and opera singer Judith Anna Lebreque. It was reported that they were married by a Justice of the Peace at a courthouse duing a lunch break from filming on Bonanza, and afterwards Pernell brought a case of champaigne back to the set to celebrate. I could not find her exact age, but an article said she was a few years younger than Pernell.


(From March 1966 TV Radio Mirror)

Judith (Judy) took the name Roberts, and became a social activist along with Pernell. Together, they participated in the Selma to Mongomery march in Alabama in 1965.


They were divorced in 1971, and had no children. She never remarried. In 1983 she guest-starred on Pernell's TV series Trapper John, M.D. in an episode entitled "South Side Story, " playing the part of Olivia Chapman.

Judith continues to act on stage, in telelvision and movies. She is best known for her matronly roles.

(Publicity Photo - date unknown)

Robert's appearances often belie a fiery emotional core, one she used to devastating effect in her most recognized dramatic roles. She began her career in the theater, and her first film role was a small part in John Cassavetes' Minnie and Moskowitz, although it is believed that she had previously been in several low-budget movies. She later appeared in the film adaptation of The Late, Great Planet Earth and also worked for Woody Allen in Stardust Memories.

In 2007 Roberts played a judge named Shaw in James Wan's Death Sentence, which is a reference to the Mary Shaw character played by her for the same director in Dead Silence (2007).



Broadway -

Present Laughter

Off Broadway -

The Voysey Inheritance
Richard III
Umbrellas of Cherbourgh
Tesla's Letters
Trudy Blue

Regional -

Dybuk, Hartford Stage Company
Milk Car Doesn't Stop Here Anymore, Hartford Stage Company


"New Amsterdam" .... Julia (1 episode, 2008)
- Pilot (2008) TV episode .... Julia
Choke (2008) (as Judith Anna Roberts) .... Elegant Lady
The Nanny Diaries (2007) .... Milicent
Death Sentence (2007) .... Judge Shaw
Dead Silence (2007) .... Mary Shaw
Faceless (2006) .... Marge Garacci
"Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (1 episode, 2003)
... aka Law & Order: CI (USA: promotional abbreviation)
- Suite Sorrow (2003) TV episode
"Law & Order" .... Harriet / ... (2 episodes, 1991-2000)
... aka Law & Order Prime (USA: informal title)
- Endurance (2000) TV episode .... Judge Schepps
- The Wages of Love (1991) TV episode .... Harriet
Fast Food Fast Women (2000) .... Bella's Mother
... aka Fast Food, Fast Women (France)

Three Below Zero (1998) (as Judith Anna Roberts) .... Nora
Mother's Boys (1994) .... Narrator
"Sirens" (1 episode, 1993)
- Everybody Lies (1993) TV episode
Mac (1992) .... Woman on Bus

Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) .... Mother Superior
... aka Slayride
"Trapper John, M.D." .... Olivia Chapman (1 episode, 1983)
- South Side Story (1983) TV episode .... Olivia Chapman
"Remington Steele" .... Rina Casselas (1 episode, 1983)
- Steele Among the Living (1983) TV episode (as Judith Anna Roberts) .... Rina Casselas
Stardust Memories (1980) .... Singer of 'Three Little Words'

The Late Great Planet Earth (1979) .... Whore of Babylon
Eraserhead (1977) (as Judith Anna Roberts) .... Beautiful Girl Across the Hall
... aka Eraserhead 2000 (USA: DVD box title)
The Student Body (1976) .... Mrs. Blalock
... aka Classroom Teasers (USA: reissue title)
... aka Sexual Students
... aka Student Body Associates
Nashville Girl (1976) .... Fran
The Swinging Barmaids (1975) .... Sally
... aka Eager Beavers
... aka Killer (Australia: video title)
Minnie and Moskowitz (1971) .... Wife



Simply Irresistible (1999) (screenplay writer)

Temptation (2004) (producer)


The following two pictures are from a play entitled Rosemary and I, from 2004. After the pictures you will find information about the play and a short review of Judith's acting in it.

(Judith is on the right)

(Judith is on the far left)

The plot set up for Rosemary and I is very straightforward. After a recent divorce, Julia (played by Miss Ayvazian) has rented a room to sit, play solitaire, and write. At the same time she is also going through her mother's belongings, which she now possesses. Using the belongings as creative spurs she is attempting to write a play and the play becomes her own internal discussion about her childhood and her parents lives. It's through these conversations we learn her mother Rosemary (Judith Roberts) was a famous singer who traveled extensively. And its through these conversations we learn that, while still a young woman, Rosemary met Julia's dashing father (Sam Groom) and quickly married, but eventually fell in love with her accompanist and traveling companion Elizabeth (Jewell Robinson).

Ayvazian has an almost magical way of writing that relies on the subtle movement of language. The shifts in her characters' personalities seem not to come so much from breakthrough moments, but more from a gentle eroding of their defenses. Thus we learn that Rosemary and Elizabeth never physically consummated their relationship except with a kiss in a park in Paris. They never spoke of the kiss, but after this brief interlude would quietly hold hands while walking down the street or simply spend time together enjoying each other's company. It's through reading her mother's diary that Julia learns all this and begins to connect the dots of her parents marriage: her father's affair, her own isolation in her room trying to get her parents' attention, the reasons Elizabeth was always around the home, and eventually the outcome of the two women's relationship.

Judith Roberts excels in the title role of Rosemary. She brings just the right amount of self-absorption and airiness to the role of a singer being taken care of by outside forces and thus, ironically, never quite realizing her own voice or internal strength. She also provides a sarcastic sense of "Julia get over it already." which balances out her daughter's self-anguish.

Rosemary and I is a lyrically sweet production and one that offers us something we so seldom see these days -- an almost entire cast of older actors highlighting a story about older people. In a culture that seems to concentrate on people between the ages of 20 and 45, we forget about the rich stories people over 50 and 60 have to offer us.


The following four pictures are from David Mamet's adaptation of Harley Granville Barker's The Voysey Inheritance, from 2005. In the first two photos, Judith is the one dressed in black near the right hand side of the pictures.






The following are pictures from the movie Dead Silence, from 2007, with a brief synopsis of the film. Judith plays Mary Shaw.




Every town has it's own ghost story, and a local folktale around Ravens Fair is about a ventriloquist named Mary Shaw. After she went mad in the 1940s, she was accused of kidnapping a young boy who yelled out in one of her performances that she was a fraud. Because of this she was hunted down by townspeople who in the ultimate act of revenge, cut out her tongue and then killed her. They buried her along with her "children," a handmade collection of vaudeville dolls, and assumed they had silenced her forever. However, Ravens Fair has been plagued by mysterious deaths around them after Mary Shaws collection has returned from their graves and have come to seek revenge on people that killed her and their families.

A Ponderosa Pine


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:pine Pining for Adam

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