Judy Canova was an American comedienne, actress, singer and radio personality. She was sometimes introduced as the Ozark Nightingale.
Born as Juliette Canova in Starke, Florida to Joseph Francis Canova, a businessman, and Henrietta Perry, a singer, Judy Canova’s show-business career began with a family vaudeville routine. She joined her sister Annie and brother Zeke, and their performances as the Three Georgia Crackers took them from theaters in Florida to a club in Manhattan. Canova sang, yodeled and played guitar and was typed as a wide-eyed likable country bumpkin, often barefoot, and wearing her hair in braids, sometimes topped with a straw hat.
Her hayseed character developed as radio’s female equivalent of comedian Bob Burns’s smalltown sage. When bandleader Rudy Vallée offered her a guest spot on his radio show in 1931, The Fleischmann Hour, it opened the door to a career that spanned more than five decades.
The popularity of the Canova family led to numerous performances on radio in the 1930s, and they made their Broadway debut in the revue Calling All Stars. An offer from Warner Bros. led to several bit parts before she signed with Republic Pictures. She recorded for the RCA Victor label and appeared in more than two dozen Hollywood films, including Scatterbrain, Joan of Ozark and Lay That Rifle Down .