Judy McBurney was born May 19th, 1948 in Chatswood, Sydney, where she grew up with her parents and her older sister Kay. As a child she wrote plays, and bribed the neighbours’ children with lollies to appear in the stage plays she had written. She got an interest for make-up early and at the age of 13 she started to work as a model for Beauty and Model agency June Dally-Watkins after school and on school holidays. She left school on her 15th birthday and next day started as a full-time model for Dally-Watkins and did parades for David Jones. After a couple of years as a successful model and a number of TV Commercial's on her CV, the ABC started offer her small parts in television productions. McBurney‘s first big guest-role was in Barrier Reef followed by The Link Men and next as a swedish model in Catwalk.
Judy on the cover to Johnny Farnham’s album ”Looking through a tear” in 1970.
In 1969 she was cast in two short movies; the lead in Terry Ohlsson's First Time Round and a supporting role in Peter Weir's Michael as the girlfriend of the main character, Michael (Mattew Burton). Years later, Weir also wanterd McBurney to auditon as one of the schoolgirls in his successfull movie Picnic at Hanging Rock; unfortunately, Judy was too tall for the part. McBurney started taking acting classes with the drama tutor Brian Syron by night, whilst still acting and modelling during the days. The most important thing she learned while studying acting was to “trust (her) instinct, and not to act, but to be. She has also taken singing lessons, jazz, ballet, and tap-dancing lessons and practiced yoga. Her stage and theatre work includes Harry M Miller’s stage version of Don’t Just Lie There, Say Something, where she played the girlfriend of British actor Terry-Thomas, a pantomime show for Ashton’s circus and touring across virtually the whole of NSW with the Pageant Theatre Company who portrayed childrens shows for school classes.
Judy McBurney (Sue), David Foster (Joey), Moya O’Sullivan (Merle) and Kevin Healy (Norm) in 1974 while filming Johnny Speight's "It stands to reason", in front of a live audience.
Judy got a successfull voice-over career after a phone call from the famous manager Brian DeCourcey, who suggested voice work and Judy decided to try it, and was soon doing voice-over work for both radio and TV in Melbourne and Sydney. McBurney has also appeared in two pilot episodes who was both planned to be highly successfully; first in 1974 for Johhny Speight, who came to Australia to do an Australian version of the British sitcom Till death us do part, with Judy casted as the family's daughter Sue. But the plans of a TV-series for Nine Network was canceled and the pilot was never screened. The second pilot was in 1988 in Harry Michaels Somerset Street, as Liz Collins, where she also helped Michaels with the scrips. But Somerset never went to air since it was too similar to another new TV-show called E-Street, and they were both also filmed in the suburb Balmain in Sydney. Judy had earlier worked with Michaels in his Greek variety show as a presenter reporting from Greece. In late 1975 McBurney got her first long-running TV-role in The Box as secretary Jane Fowler; also known as Plain Jane, and guest starred in some of Crawfords many cop shows there she often was type-casted as a prostitute. Back in Sydney in early 1977 for a two weeks contract for The Young Doctors, she declined a number of roles she was offered; included parts in Cop Shop and Hotel Story, as well the stage play The Pleasure of his Company.
However, her two weeks contract in The Young Doctors didn't end till 1982 when the show was canceled and at this stage Judy had became one of the most popular Television actress in Australia. Together with her co-star and on-screen husband Dr. Tony Garcia (played by the late Tony Alvarez) their wedding in the TV-series made them to one of Australia's most popular and loving TV couple's. They were overwhelmed with wedding presents from fans all around the country and some even thought they were married in real life too. Judy and Tony became close friends and Tony used to describe Judy with lovely words "She’s a lovely lady, she always finds a way to make you feel alive again when you’re feeling very down".
After The Young Doctors ended, Judy was going to retire from acting but was soon offered to audition for the role as Pixie Mason in Prisoner, a role who lasted for almost two years. McBurney retired from full-time acting in the 1990’s but was seen in an episode of Home and Away in a scene there some teenagers make a joke at Donald Fisher, by letting Donald believe he’s going to hire a cleaning lady, but McBurney’s character, Audrey is a actually a Dating Agency representative.
Judy with Tony Alvarez.
Judy at the corner of McBurney Road, next to the McBurney Park in Sydney; named after Judy’s family.
In the middle of the 90’s McBurney also worked as a drama teacher for young children at actor John Orcsik’s Drama School, aswell as a voice coach before she became an educated healer. In 2012, after nearly 30 years in the same house in Balmain in Sydney, Judy moved to the country town of Tamworth with her two Bengal cats Poppie and Pansie. Judy has very recently suffering some health issues but are recovering and doing well (read more about in on the first page) and has since moved closer to Sydney. McBurney is very interested in astrology and numerology, as well as gardening, animals and animal welfare and lives a healthy lifestile as a vegetarian. Her all-time favourite character, throughout her long career as an actress, was that of Pixie in Prisoner. She was also very fond of her time filming The Cousin from Fiji and describes the production as the most beautiful thing she has done, as well she still sees the casts from The Young Doctors as a big, happy family.
The Official Judy McBurney Website
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