Judy Parker Gaudio, writer of Billboard chart-topping songs and Broadway hits, passed away peacefully from respiratory complications on Thursday, her husband Bob Gaudio confirmed. Se was 79.
Among her most well-known songs are “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)” and “Who Loves You,” which were recorded by Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons.
Judy Parker was introduced to Bob Gaudio, a founding member of The Four Seasons, in 1973 at the Motown Studios in Los Angeles, while Bob was recording a Marvin Gaye/Diana Ross duet. They dated for 8 years and were married on April 5,1981. In their 45 years together, they co-wrote a number of top 5 songs for Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons. Some of those were prominently featured in the Tony, Grammy, and Olivier Award-winning musical, Jersey Boys, which became the 12th longest-running musical in Broadway history.
Born and raised in Michigan, Judy was one of seven children and the daughter of an Army Colonel; she also attended Michigan State University. Before her songwriting career began, Judy pursued a career in acting and modeling, including four years working in Rome, Italy. This young Michigander adopted the Italian language and culture quite quickly.
When she moved back to the U.S. in the late 1960’s, Judy secured featured roles in a number of television shows, including Batman, Bonanza, and My Three Sons. Additionally, her work in commercials included United Airlines, and a wide variety of hair products such as Breck, Halo, Prell and Lilt Home Permanent.
Of all her successes, a significant moment came for Judy when she co-wrote, with her husband, the title song for Neil Diamond’s 1977 NBC TV special, Glad You’re Here with Me Tonight.
Judy was an entertaining storyteller with a wicked sense of humor. Songwriting, interior decorating, and family were her loves, along with the Sunday New York Times’ crossword puzzle. A woman of strong faith and philanthropic spirit, she gave generously to Samaritan’s Purse and Wounded Warrior Project. Judy and Bob made homes at the San Remo on Central Park West and Montauk, NY, however, they always maintained their primary residence in Nashville, TN.
Judy Parker Gaudio passed away at Vanderbilt University Hospital in Nashville, TN at 4:55 PM on her birthday. It was, ironically, within 10 minutes of her time of birth.
Judy was preceded in death by parents, Dorothy and Wilbur Small, sister Janice McKinley, and brother, Bill Small.
Judy Parker Gaudio’s hits as a songwriter (all recorded by The Four Seasons):
Who Loves You (1975 / #3 Pop / #7 Adult Contemporary / #7 Dance / #6 U.K.)
December 1963 (Oh What a Night) (1975 / #1 Pop / #18 AC / #1 U.K.)
Silver Star (1976 / #38 Pop / #24 AC / #3 U.K.)
Rhapsody (1977 / #37 U.K.)
Down the Hall (1977 / #65 Pop / #40 AC / #34 U.K.)