Janet Waldo, the voice actress who gave life to the original Judy Jetson in 1962, has died. Waldo was 96 years old.
Waldo appeared in shows like I Love Lucy and was the starring voice actor in Hanna-Barbera’s late-60s animated show The Perils of Penelope Pitsop. But her legacy will be forever linked to The Jetsons, where she voiced the teenaged girl Judy—the daughter of George and Jane, and sister to Elroy.
The futuristic cartoon TV show premiered in September of 1962 and helped shape forward-looking expectations for generations around the world. Many people are shocked to learn that the original Jetsons run only lasted one season (1962-63) and there were just 24 episodes produced.
Those 24 episodes would run on repeat for Saturday morning cartoons for decades to come. When the series was rebooted in 1985, Waldo was cast again in the iconic role and she was supposed to appear in the 1990 Jetsons feature film. Waldo recorded her lines but was replaced by Universal Pictures with pop vocalist Tiffany at the last minute.
“I was totally crushed,” Waldo told the L.A. Times in 1990. “I originated the character, and I feel very sentimental about Judy. If they had recast the whole show, there wouldn’t have been any problem at all. But the fact that my part was the only one that was changed just threw me. I felt it was very disloyal.”
If you’re scratching your head asking yourself who Tiffany was, her star was burned out by the time that the film hit theaters in July of 1990. Janet Waldo continued to do voice work well into the late 1990s and got the recognition she deserved as the voice of Judy during the 50th anniversary of the show back in 2012. Waldo did numerous interviews in 2012 as one of the last living original voice actors from the series.