Judy Kuhn (May 20, 1958 – ) is an American actress and vocalist best known for her portrayal of the character of Pocahontas in the 1995 animated feature film, Pocahontas. She began her career as a theater actress, performing in several productions during the early 1980s. Her Broadway debut came in 1985, when she originated the role of Jenny opposite Matthew Broderick in Robert Wise’s musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. In 1986, Kuhn won a Theatre World Award for her performance in the Off-Broadway revival of Neil Simon’s play Biloxi Blues. After receiving critical acclaim for her performances in the 1988 off-Broadway revivals of Follies and Annie Get Your Gun, Kuhn joined the cast of the 1990 Broadway revival of Gypsy. For her performance as Mama Rose in the show, she earned a nomination for the 1991 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical. In 1993, Kuhn starred alongside Bernadette Peters in the concert version of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods. Kuhn received further recognition for her performance, winning both the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performer in a Musical and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Individual Achievement in a Lead Role in a Musical. In 1994, Kuhn portrayed the title role in the film Pocahontas. The following year, Kuhn played Lottie Moon in the short-lived CBS sitcom, The Nanny. In 1997, Kuhn returned to Broadway, starring in the revival of John Guare’s La Bête Humaine. In 1999, Kuhn reprised the role of Mama Rose in the London West End production of Into the Woods. Kuhns 2004 album, Love Songs, reached number three on the Billboard 200 chart. In 2005, Kuhn performed the lead vocals on the soundtrack for the Academy Award-winning film Chicago. In 2006, Kuhn released her fourth album, titled Love Songs 2. Kuhn has also recorded songs for children’s videos such as Aladdin and the King of Thieves. Kuhn has been married to actor Christopher Gartin since 1989. They live together in New York City.
Kuhn was born on November 30th, 1973 in New York City to David and Barbara Kuhn. Her father worked as a lawyer while her mother taught English literature at Columbia University. She had one brother, Adam, who died of leukemia in 1995.
After graduating high school, Kuhn attended Oberlin College in Ohio, majoring in theater arts. She graduated in 1996. While there, she performed in several plays including “The House of Blue Leaves”, “The Royal Family”, “The Taming of the Shrew”, and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. In 1997, she transferred to Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where she continued performing in plays such as “The Cherry Orchard”, “The Glass Menagerie”, and “Death of a Salesman”. During her time at Brown, Kuhn played the role of Laura Wingfield in the 1999 production of “Salesman”.
In 2000, Kuhn left Brown to pursue a master’s degree in drama at NYU. There, she joined the improvisational comedy group The Groundlings Theatre Company. She later returned to Brown to complete her studies.
While studying at Brown, Kuhn began auditioning for roles in film and TV productions. One of her earliest auditions came in 2002, when she landed a part in the independent feature “The Last Kiss”.
She next starred in the 2003 romantic comedy “You Don’t Mess With My Man” alongside comedian/actor Jim Breuer. That same year, Kuhn appeared in the pilot episode of NBC’s sitcom “Scrubs”, playing Dr. Sarah Murphy, a character based on herself. The show went on to become a hit among young audiences.
In 2004, Kuhn landed another role in the sitcom “That ’70s Show”. She portrayed Karen Filippelli, Eric Forman’s girlfriend. The following year, she again landed a role in a sitcom, this time playing the lead in the short-lived ABC sitcom “Less Than Perfect”.
During 2005, Kuhn was cast in the CBS sitcom “How I Met Your Mother”, portraying Robin Scherbatsky, Ted Mosby’s love interest. The show became a huge success for CBS and won seven Emmy Awards.
Kuhn began singing professionally at age 7. She attended New York University’s School of Performing Arts where she studied voice and musical theater. In 1984, she won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and joined the roster of singers at the San Francisco Opera Company. She sang leading roles in operas including La Traviata, Tosca, Manon Lescaut, Aida, Carmen, Madama Butterfly, Turandot, Die Fledermaus, Norma, Faust, The Merry Widow, Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, Der Rosenkavalier, Lucia di Lammermoor, Eugene Onegin, Don Giovanni, Le Comte Ory, The Magic Flute, Werther, Samson et Dalila, Suor Angelica, Cavalleria Rusticana, Thais, Elektra, Lohengrin, Salome, Jenůfa, The Flying Dutchman, The Barber of Seville, Die Walküre, Parsifal, Tristan und Isolde, Pelléas et Mélisande, Falstaff, Königskinder, Rusalka, Ariadne auf Naxos, Die Zauberflöte, Die Frau ohne Schatten, Der Freischütz, Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, The Pearl Fishers, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Die Fledermaschine, Die lustige Witwe, Die Drei Pintos, Die Feen, Die Räuber, Die Meistersinger, Die Hochzeit des Figaro, The Marriage of Figaro, Die Soldaten, Die Brautwahl, Die Geisha, Die Kluge, Die Äbtissin, Die Bajazz, Die Fledermeier, Die Vogeljagd, Die Zirkusprinzessin, Die Liebesleidenschaften der Blume und die Wunderliche Reise eines Schneiders.
Kuhn began her career in theater in 1989 with a role in the off-Broadway play,. This led to her first starring role in the 1991 film,, which starred Michael J. Fox and Christopher Meloni. Her performance earned her a nomination for a Young Artist Award. After playing the role of Sally Brown in the 1992 musical, she went on to star in the original Off-Broadway production of, alongside Brian Bedford, Frances Conrao, Hope Davis, Victor Garebbe, Laura Innes and John Rubinstein. Despite a cast that included some big names, the show closed after just 29 regular performances.
In 1993, Kuhn portrayed the character of Amalia Balash in the Roundabout Theatre Company revival of, opposite Paul Rudd and Alan Arkin. The following year, she had a small part in the comedy,. In 1995, she co-starred in the short-lived CBS sitcom, where she played the role of Lisa Hutton, the wife of actor Jack Klugman. In 1996, she played the role of Betty Schaeffer in the U.S. premiere production of, directed by Sam Mendes.
Kuhn played the role of Fanny Brice in the original production of the musical comedy revue As Thousands Cheer, which opened on November 13, 1998, at the Westside Arts Center in Pasadena, California. The show closed on January 4, 1999. She received a Tony Award nomination for her performance. In May 2000 she performed in the revival of On Your Toes, playing opposite Bernadette Peters, and in 2001 she starred as Mrs. Lovett in Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Her final appearance on stage was in 2003, when she returned to the role of Fanny in the national touring cast of the musical comedy revues As Thousands Cheer.
In 2004 she joined the cast of the Broadway musical King David, replacing Patti LuPone in the role of Bathsheba. This marked her return to Broadway since her previous stint there in 1996. She left the show in April 2005, citing “creative differences”. Kuhn later stated that she had been forced out because director Michael Mayer wanted to change the play from a character study into a love story. Kuhn did not attend the opening night performance, nor did she perform during the run of the show. Kuhn reprised the role of Fanny on July 5, 2007, in a concert version of the show, produced by the American Musical Theatre Festival.
She began singing in concerts in 2002, including performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Avery Fisher Hall. Kuhn has sung several songs from the musicals Cats and Les Misérables, among others. She recorded a duet with Jason Alexander entitled “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”, which was included on his album A Life Less Ordinary.
Kuhn appeared in the film adaptation of the musical Rent, portraying Maureen Johnson. She won a Screen Actors Guild award for her performance.
Kuhn played Fantine in the original London cast of Les Misérables, replacing Lea Salonga in November 2003. She left the production in May 2004, following her marriage to producer David Foster.
She reprised the role in the 2005 film version of the musical, starring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe and Amanda Seyfried. She also sang “I Dreamed A Dream”, one of the songs she performed in the stage version.
In 2007, Kuhn replaced Lea Salonga again, playing the role of Fosca in the New York City Center revival of the Stephen Sondeihm musical.
In 2009, Kuhn starred in the Los Angeles premiere of the musical, directed by Michael Mayer.
In 2010, Kuhn took over the lead role in the West End production of the musical, succeeding Lea Salonga. Her performance earned her a nomination for Best Actress in a Musical at the 2011 Laurence Olivier Awards.
On December 5, 2012, it was announced that Kuhn had joined the cast of the upcoming Broadway revival of Ragtime, playing Billie Holiday opposite Audra McDonald as Ethel Waters. This marks Kuhn’s return to Broadway after nearly twenty years since her last appearance there. The production premiered at the Longacre Theatre on August 25, 2013 and closed on January 5, 2014.
Kuhn won the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for her portrayal of Helen Keller in the Broadway revival of The Miracle Worker.
Kuhn lives with her husband,David Schwab, in New York City. She enjoys cooking, running, traveling, and spending time outdoors. In 2012, she began dating actor Jason Segel. On June 20, 2013, Kuhn gave birth to their daughter, Anna.