The show was “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.” It launched the careers of Lily Tomlin and Goldie Hawn. And then there was Judy Carne, who dressed in 1970s attire that fit the times, and who made famous one line – “Sock it to me.” For the six-year run of the show, 1967-1973, those four words created an iconic figure of Ms. Carne. He persona emphasized her wacky humor and pixie looks.
Carne expected her run on the show to catapult her career as it did for Tomlin and Hawn. Instead, she had to settle for two-bit parts as her life spiraled out of control. Plagued by a series of medical and legal problems, she turned to drugs, leading to a lifelong battle with heroin addiction. Carne was married twice, including to Burt Reynolds, but she never escaped her demons. She died this week, in the small village of Pitsford in Northamptonshire, England, in the company of her two dogs.
Thirty years ago, Judy wrote her autobiography, Laughing on the Outside, Crying on the Inside. She chronicled her struggles with substance abuse in great detail. Judy Carne is us, or at least many of us. When the lights came on she performed. She made people laugh. She was on the covers of magazines and the toast of Hollywood. But she learned that with time, the lights dim. It is in those moments that we discover who we really are. Anyone can say a few jokes, play a role on stage, and laugh on the outside. But it’s what’s going on on the inside that really matters.