Judy Balaban, the High-Placed Participant in Hollywood, who graced the silver screen and led a life intertwined with Tinseltown’s brightest stars, has passed away. Born on October 13, 1932, in Chicago, she was more than just a Hollywood socialite.
She was the daughter of Barney Balaban, who presided over Paramount Pictures during its golden era from 1936 to 1964. Her connection to the world of cinema was ingrained in her roots, making her a part of Hollywood’s inner circle.
Judy Balaban Cause of Death
Judy Balaban’s journey came to an end on the evening of October 19, 2023, in a Los Angeles hospital, where she had been battling health issues. She was 91 years old. The news of her passing was confirmed by her close friend, author, and documentary filmmaker, Cari Beauchamp.
Balaban’s life was no less dramatic than the films she watched and the stars she encountered. She was linked romantically with luminaries like Montgomery Clift and Merv Griffin, her love life filled with the passion and intrigue that one would expect from the golden age of Hollywood.
She walked down the aisle with Tony Franciosa, but her marriages to high-profile Hollywood agent Jay Kanter and actor Don Quine also found their place in her tumultuous love story. All three marriages, despite their glitz and glamour, ended in divorce, showing that even amidst the shining lights, love can be as fleeting as a movie scene.
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Judy Balaban Obituary
Hollywood bids farewell to one of its most vibrant and influential personalities Judy Balaban, the daughter of a legendary studio mogul, Barney Balaban. Her life was a whirlwind of glamour, celebrity friendships, and a deep commitment to civil rights, making her an unforgettable presence in the entertainment industry.
Judy Balaban leaves behind a legacy in Hollywood, with two daughters, Amy and Nina, and a cousin, the Oscar-nominated actor Bob Balaban. In her passing, we remember Judy Balaban not just as a high-placed participant in Hollywood but as a woman who embraced life, love, and the pursuit of justice.
Judy Balaban Stand for Civil Rights
While Hollywood often celebrated glitz and glamor, Judy Balaban took a stand for justice and civil rights. She served on the board of directors for the ACLU of Southern California for decades, advocating for equality and pushing boundaries in a time when society was resistant to change.
In a 2010 Vanity Fair piece she co-wrote with Cari Beauchamp, she openly discussed her experimentation with LSD in the early 1960s, at a time when the substance was still legal. This soul-baring experience, shared with friends like Cary Grant and his third wife, Betsy Drake, was far ahead of its time. Balaban’s ability to challenge societal norms and engage in such discussions, even when her life was heading in different directions, demonstrated her free spirit and progressive outlook.
One of the most fascinating chapters in Judy Balaban’s life was her role as one of Grace Kelly’s bridesmaids at her wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956. Her connection with Kelly, forged through Jay Kanter, her then-husband and the actress’s agent, blossomed into a close friendship. When Grace Kelly became a princess, Judy Balaban was right by her side, celebrating a love story that captured the world’s imagination.
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The Bridesmaids: Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco, and Six Intimate Friends
Balaban chronicled this extraordinary experience in her 1989 book, ‘The Bridesmaids: Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco, and Six Intimate Friends.’ In it, she described Kelly’s iconic wedding dress, a masterpiece created by MGM costume designer Helen Rose, and the sheer opulence of the ceremony. This unique insider’s perspective provides an intimate view of the royal nuptials, adding a personal touch to the legend of Grace Kelly.
While she often found herself in the company of Hollywood’s elite, Judy Balaban was more than just a socialite. She made appearances in documentaries about Montgomery Clift and Grace Kelly, cementing her own place in Hollywood’s history. Her interviews and contributions to various documentary projects, including Mark Cousins’ acclaimed 2011 doc series ‘The Story of Film: An Odyssey,’ showcased her deep connection to the industry and its legends.