‘Sock it to me’ Northamptonshire star who married Burt Reynolds dies aged 76

Actress, singer and dancer Judy Carne has died aged 76. The Northampton-born star found fame with the 1960s sketch comedy Rowan and Martin's Laugh-in.
Actress, singer and dancer Judy Carne has died aged 76. The Northampton-born star found fame with the 1960s sketch comedy Rowan and Martin's Laugh-in.

A Northamptonshire born star of a hit US comedy who became famous for her “sock it to me” catchphrase and who married Burt Reynolds has died aged 76.

Judy Carne, born as Joyce Botterill in 1939, was the daughter of Kingsthorpe greengrocers and went on to find fame in America in the 1960s as a dancer, actress and comedienne.

She made her first British television appearances on the series Danger Man in 1961, but after moving to the US appeared in several movies and TV shows, such as The Man From UNCLE and I Dream of Jeannie,

She was best known for her performance in the NBC sketch show Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in, in which the Northampton born star coined the catchphrase “sock it to me,” often accompanied by her being doused in water by her co-stars.

Sadly she died at Northampton General Hospital died on Thursday, September 3, after a battle with pneumonia. She was believed to have lived in Pitsford at the time.

Tributes have flooded in for the Northampton star via Facebook page Northampton Old Faces.

Patricia Keay, who went to school with her, wrote: “Judy Carne, or Joyce Botterill as she was known then, was two or three years ahead of me at Bective Junior School in the late 1940’s. Miss Oaks, our Headmistress, was very proud of her talented pupil, and very often the whole school would be gathered into the hall, where Joyce would give an impromptu ‘song and dance’ performance. Rest peacefully, Judy.”

After leaving Laugh-in, Judy Carne starred as Polly in The Boyfriend on Broadway and appeared on numerous game and talk shows in the US.

In 1963 she entered into a tempestuous two year marriage with film actor Burt Reynolds, who she would later allege in a 1980s biography, had been abusive to her during their relationship.

The book ‘Laughing on the Outside, Crying on the Inside: The Bittersweet Saga of the Sock-It-To-Me Girl’s also revealed her descent into a life of drug addiction.

Her and Burt Reynolds divorced in 1966.

In the late 1970s Carne was involved in a near fatal car accident, from which she broke her back, and in 1978 returned from America to her parents’ home in Church Brampton, to recover.

Judy Carne first trained in Northampton at the Pit-Draffen Academy of Dancing and was described by Denise Pitt-Draffen in 2002 as “a very talented girl.”

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