Known for her distinctive voice, Judith Durham will be remembered for hits like Georgy Girl and The Carnival is Over
Known for her distinctive voice, Durham will be remembered for hits like Georgy Girl, who starred in the film of the same name with Lynn Redgrave and was nominated for an Academy Award.
The Seekers were Australia’s first pop group to reach number one in the US, with the 1964–68 folk-singing foursome gaining international acclaim.
In a tribute, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called Durham “a national treasure”.
Here’s everything you need to know about who Judith Durham was and how she died.
Who was Judith Durham?
Durham is best known as the lead singer of Australian folk band The Seekers.
Born Judith Mavis Cock in Victoria, Australia, she changed her surname to her mother’s maiden name at the age of 18.
Durham was a talented pianist who earned an Associate in Music from the University of Melbourne.
Her singing career began accidentally after she was asked to sing at the Memphis Jazz Club, where she began performing regularly with Frank Traynor’s Jazz Preachers.
In 1963 Durham joined the Seekers alongside Athol Guy, Keith Potger and Bruce Woodley.
They recorded their first album, Introducing the Seekers, before sailing to the UK as a musical act on the cruise ship Fairsky in 1964.
What was originally planned as a 10 week journey turned into a four year career with top 10 hits, number ones in the UK and US and international recognition.
Despite their growing success, Durham made the decision to leave the group and pursue a solo career.
When did Judith Durham leave The Seekers?
Durham left The Seekers in August 1968 after four years with the folk group.
Reflecting on her decision to leave in a 2019 interview with ABC, she said, “I never thought in a million years that they would have thought that I would have turned my back on them… I thought everyone was fine.” “
The group would not reunite until 1992 when they performed their Silver Jubilee Tour, celebrating 25 years of their music.
The last time The Seekers performed together was for their Golden Jubilee Tour celebrating their 50th anniversary.
While on tour, Durham suffered a stroke that left her unable to read or write music, but she was able to recover and join the tour again in 2014.
How old was she when she died?
Durham was 79 years old when she died in palliative care on Friday August 5, 2022.
How did Judith Durham die?
A statement from Universal Music Australia and Musicoast confirmed the singer had died as a result of complications from chronic lung disease.
The statement added, “This is a sad day for Judith’s family, her fellow seekers, the Musicoast staff, the music industry and fans worldwide and all of us who have been a part of Judith’s life for so long.”
Who Was Judith Durham’s Husband?
Durham married actor and composer Ron Edgeworth in 1969 and they stayed together for 35 years.
Edgeworth became her musical director and helped shape her solo career.
The couple split their time between Melbourne, UK and Switzerland.
Edgeworth died in 1994 at the age of 56 after being diagnosed with motor neuron disease.
What honors have you received?
Tributes for the Australian folk star are awash.
In a tribute on Twitter, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called Durham “a national treasure”.
Added: “Judith Durham gave voice to a new strand of our identity and helped pave the way for a new generation of Australian artists.
“Her kindness will be missed by many, the anthems she gave to our nation will never be forgotten.”
In a statement, her former bandmates called her “our cherished lifelong friend and shining star.”
They added: “Her fight was intense and heroic, she never complained about her fate and fully accepted its ending. Keith, Bruce and I are so blessed to share their amazing musical legacy.”
Author Phillip Pullman also took to Twitter to share a heartfelt tribute that referenced one of Durham’s most famous songs.
Pullman said, “Carnival is over and there will never be a you again. RIP Judith Durham.”