Family & Companions
Known as the 'Queen of the Hillbillies', Canova perfected her act as child performer with her sister Anne and brother Zeke as part of the "Canova Cracker Trio." Upon graduating from high school, she moved to New York and developed the basic character that she essayed throughout much of her career: a man-chaser in pigtails, dressed in oversized ankle boots, bobby sox, short plain skirt, checkered blouse and straw hat who was given to produce an "ear-bursting yodel." Canova and her siblings were signed a regulars on the Rudy Vallee radio show in 1933 and the following year, joined by yet another brother Pete, made their Broadway debut in the Ziegfeld revue "Calling All Stars." The quartet were featured in the film "In Caliente" (1935) but Canova had a moment of her own: during a lavish Spanish production number, she emerged from the shadows to parody the leading lady. The success of that number led to a 3 picture deal at Warner Brothers. In "Artists and Models" (1937), she played her first "straight" role. Canova and her siblings became the first "hillbilly" act to appear on TV when they were featured in an experimental NBC broadcast in 1939. She appeared in a number of B-movies produced by Republic Pictures, including "Scatterbrain" (1940), "Puddin' Head" (1941) and "Joan of Ozark" (1942).
Canova headlined her own CBS radio show in 1943 but low ratings forced its cancellation. She had better luck with her second attempt on NBC (1945-53) surrounded by a cast of characters that included Hans Conreid, Mel Blanc and Sheldon Leonard. She continued her busy career juggling the radio show, appearances in Las Vegas and films. After several failed attempts to land a TV series in the 1960s, Canova went into semi-retirement. Her last film appearance was a cameo in "Cannonball" (1976). She was the mother of actress Diana Canova.
Cast (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Performed with sister Anne and brother Zeke as the "Canova Cracker Trio" (date approximate)
Moved to NYC with Anne and Zeke
Canova and siblings hired as regulars on Rudy Vallee's radio show
Brother Pete joined act; all four made Broadway debut in revue "Calling All Stars" produced by Florenz Ziegfeld
Film acting debut, "In Caliente", performing song parody; brother Pete quit act
First "hillbilly" act to appear on TV in experimental NBC broadcast
Signed by Republic Pictures for series of B-movies; received first top billing in "Scatterbrain"
Headlined own radio show "The Judy Canova Show" on CBS; cancelled after less than one year
Made Las Vegas debut
Last major film appearance "The Adventures of Hucklebery Finn"
Final film appearance "Cannonball"