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Judy Holliday

Judy Holliday

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Ella Peterson (Judy Holliday) works as a switchboard operator for her cousin Sue's (Jean Stapleton) answering service, Susanswerphone.

Ella takes an active interest in the lives of her customers, going so far as to adopt different characters for different clients.

One such customer is Jeffrey Moss (Dean Martin), a playwright with writers' block who thinks Ella is an old woman and calls her "Mom." Sue warns Ella to stay out of the customers' lives, but when she finds out Jeff is in danger of missing a meeting with an important producer, Ella, who's in love with his voice, rushes to his apartment to help.

The mysterious, seemingly psychic, Melisande Scott (the name Ella gives him) is just the inspiration Jeff needs to finish his play in time for his meeting.

In her off hours, Ella tips off two other clients, a dentist who composes on the air hose, and a beatnik actor (Frank Gorshin), to the opportunities open to them with Jeff's play.

Jeff quickly falls in love with "Melisande" but she disappears from a party he takes her to, convinced that he'll hate her once he finds out the truth about her.

But will Jeff, without her real name or address, be able to find her before she leaves town?Betty Comden and Adolph Green wrote this play especially for Judy Holliday in 1956 to cheer her up during a rough personal time, and they based the character of Ella on Judy herself.

She played the part on Broadway for two years (924 performances) and won a Tony award.

This was Judy's last movie; she died of cancer in 1965 at the age of 43.Watch for Hal Linden (TV's Barney Miller) singing "The Midas Touch" in his first movie role.

Donna Douglas ("The Beverly Hillbillies") is one of the party guests, and Ella's blind date at the beginning of the movie was Gerry Mulligan, a jazz musician and infrequent actor, and Judy's new real-life boyfriend.You can watch "Bells Are Ringing" on Turner Classic Movies Thursday, July 2nd at 12:30 p.m.

CT, or Monday, July 27th at 7 p.m.

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