Fan fave JUDI MEREDITH who starred in “JACK THE GIANT KILLER” and WILLIAM CASTLE’s “THE NIGHT WALKER” has gone to the land beyond beyond at age 77.
Born Judith Clare Boutin in Portland Oregon in 1936, she was talented figure skater who turned pro with the Ice Follies at age 15. Her career was shattered as a skater after breaking er back in an accident. Recovering, she continued to skate until she broke her knee when she firmly told by docs to stop skating.
Judi was touring in summer stock when she was discovered by famed comedian George Burns who cast her on his TV “The George Burns & Grace Allen Show” in a recurring role.She made her film debut in “Wild Heritage” in 1958.
A familiar face across the TV landscape of the 1960s appearing in the “87th Precient”, “Wagon Train”, “Gunsmoke”, “Ben Casey”, “Have Gun Will Travel” “Bonanza”, “Emergency” and “Hawaii Five-O” among many, many others.
But her film fame was cemented as the role of the Princess Elaine saved by stalwart hero Kerwin Matthews in the stop-motion classic fantasy film “Jack the Giant Killer”.
Later she appeared in suspense director William Castle’s nightmare flick “The Night Walker” with Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck.
She also appeared in AIP’s sci-fi horror flick “The Queen of Blood” one of the many inspirations of “Alien”.
According to "Movie/TV/Record Stardom" Magazine in May 1960, she dated Bobby Darin prior to his romance with Sandra Dee. She also dated Frank Sinatra.
On the TV show “Hotel de Paree” she met assistant director Gary Nelson. She told the producers of “Have Gun Will Travel” she’d appear for free, if they allowed Gary to direct. They agreed.
Soon after they were married but hubby soon laid down the law – that there would be only one professional in the family and Judi Meredith Nelson slowly faded from film and TV as Gary’s career took off. Happily, she was content to support his career, yacht and ply her rose garden.
Her last TV appearance was on the police series’ “Toma” in 1973. “Jack the Giant Killer’ was re-released on video during the 1980s as a musical adding songs where they were none originally in an attempt to Disney-fy it. Recent releases of the fantasy swashbuckler have been shorn of the added dross.
Judi passed on April 30, 2014 surrounded by husband Gary and her two sons.
Au revoir, Judi.