An award-winning film writer, director and producer, Judy Chaikin came of age artistically in Los Angeles. As a youth, she studied dance and played trumpet in her junior high school band. After suffering from harassment by boys in the band, she put down her trumpet. After a brief stint as a chorus girl in Las Vegas, she returned to Los Angeles where she launched her career as an actor performing for television, films, theater and several improvisation companies. Chaikin soon discovered that she preferred to be behind the camera.
In 1970, Chaikin directed her first play, Womanspeak, featuring Jane Fonda. Her work as Second Unit Director on her first feature film, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, led to an invitation to attend the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women. In 1988, Chaikin was nominated for an Emmy for her PBS documentary Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist. In 2004, she received another Emmy nomination for Building on a Dream: The NoHo Art Project. Her short film Cotillion '65 won numerous awards at several film festivals, including Best Short and Best Comedy.
In 2011, Chaikin released The Girls in the Band, a documentary film about the untold stories of women instrumentalists in jazz groups and big bands from the 1930s to 2000s. This film has won several awards, including Best Documentary at the High Falls and Omaha Film festivals, and Best Film at the Victoria (Canada) Independent Film and Video Festival. Chaikin served as writer, director, and producer for The Girls in the Band.
Biography by Chuck Haddix, Marr Sound Archives; edited by Derek Long, Marr Sound Archives.