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Though born in Burlington, Vermont, Jude spent his formative years in Albany, New York. Being the son of area sports legend, Dick Ciccolella, Jude would eventually, in adolescence, embrace the arena, having scholastic athletic careers in football, basketball and baseball. Yet early on, the dominance of the right brain was manifested in a talent for drawing (a rendering of Abe Lincoln), continuous singing [he remembers, at the age of three, accompanying his mother and the Weavers to “Goodnight Irene” coming off the radio], and the creation of assorted voices, characters, and scenarios for his beloved stuffed animals that were his first theatrical troupe.

At five years of age, the magical world included cowboys and Indians, Knights of the Round Table, and Prince Valiant. As a post war baby, Jude was fortunate to have been exposed to the Great American Songbook and nascent Rock and Roll, both on the car radio and on the new T.V., with Perry Como, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, and all the greats [even Elvis] right there on the screen in the living room. Most of all, in the end, the fantastic wonderland of the movie theater was perhaps the defining influence on Jude’s vocational choice. He warmly recalls Sunday afternoons, in the wake of his Aunt Josephine’s proverbial Italian feast, hitting the Palace, the Strand, and the Madison with his father, and experiencing The Robe, Shane, The Creature From the Black Lagoon, On the Waterfront, and all the great films of the fifties. Jude went to Saint Catherine of Siena grammar school under the tutelage of the Holy Name nuns. Though undertaking no formal training, he fondly remembers the serenity of the choir on Xmas and the other Holy Days, always being transported by these liturgical hymns. As the teen years loomed around the corner, there was much imitation of the great rockers of the time [Elvis, Fats, Ricky etc.], and some germinal thespic experimentation in Halloween costume contests, variously showing up as THE MONSTER, THE PHAROAH, and THE KNIGHT, all costumes ingeniously designed by his mother.

But the first real taste of the stage, the footlights, the applause, was the Little League. Jude remembers that, curiously, it was more important that you swung the bat exactly like your hero (Hank Aaron), that you actually stood at the plate like him, than that you ever hit the ball. The increasing propensity toward mimicry! The transmogrification of the make believe of stuffed animals, of Prince Valiant, of Sunday afternoons at the Ritz theater! The commencement of the actor’s narcissism! Early heroics included the night Jude hit three home runs in an all-star game to lead the Whitehall team to the city championship. He also led the league in home runs. In the Babe Ruth league, where Jude once pitched a ten inning no hitter with twenty strike outs, he again led the league in home runs.

In 1961 Jude entered Christian Brothers Academy. There was still no formal interest in theater or music [he never did any plays or even joined the choir]. Yet the ceaseless imitative crooning continued; now it was Bill Medley, The Beatles, and still Elvis. Of course, the movies were still essential; Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, James Bond, etc. Jude made all city and all league in football and basketball (he captained the team), and is especially proud of being named most valuable player by his own football teammates. For a number of years he held records in both sports at the school. He concluded his baseball career in the American Legion where he was an all star every year he played. He pitched fifteen straight no hit innings in all-star play. Along with his father and brother, Tom, he is a member of the CBA Hall of Fame. There was a point in Jude’s junior year when he thought he had a writer’s calling; his short story, A Tale of Zacco, was read to the class. It was a horror yarn that was strongly influenced by passionate consumption of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND. But he would head in another direction at Brown University. Jude became an Ivy Leaguer in 1965, deciding to study Philosophy and to play football. It was in his sophomore year that he had an epiphany. Having not found a sense of true direction, of a satisfying career choice, he decided to sample something he had always loved. Acting. At least he knew he had always loved the movies. To be Gary Cooper in High Noon! To be John Wayne in the Searchers! To be Paul Newman in anything! After taking an extension course, he joined Jim Barnhill’s class and from that moment found his purpose. Embraced by the theater crowd, where a jock was a welcome rarity, Jude found his place musically as the lead singer for the campus band “COOL CLEAR WALTER”. They specialized in big voices, melody, and harmony.

After graduating from Brown, Jude spent two years doing social work for the Albany County Department of Social Services. In 1971 he entered Temple University to get an MFA in Acting, studying with Joel Friedman and Arthur Wagner. In these Philadelphia years Jude began to write songs and perform around town with his guitar, accompanied by his friend Wayne See. (He got his start at the Head House Tavern) He also did many plays in small theaters in and out of town, never taking a permanent job, always afraid that that would end his hopes of performing on a bigger stage. He preferred temporary, flexible work, especially physical work in a blue-collar male atmosphere. Over the years he has been a substitute teacher, a dockworker, a post office worker, a cashier, a social worker, a dishwasher and more. He is especially grateful for the stagehand work in Philly, from which he has retained lifelong friends and lessons, and for the furniture moving work in NY [provided by his brother Tom] which gave him the opportunity to have an acting career in the Apple. Jude is a member of The ENSEMBLE STUDIO THEATER, where he studied with Curt Dempster. He is also a member of the ACTORS STUDIO, where he has done scene work under the expert guidance of Estelle Parsons, Arthur Penn, Frank Corsaro, and Lou Antonio. With the invaluable assistance of Carver Blanchard and Tom Burnett, Jude made his first CD in 1996 in NY. Judd Hirsch used the music from “HAUNTED” in his production of “ART” at the Papermill Playhouse in 2001.

Arriving in LA in 2002, Jude continued to work with exciting artists on stage and screen, including Jonathan Demme, Oliver Stone, Meryl Streep, Nick Cage, Sandra Bullock, Tilda Swinton, Kiefer Sutherland, and many more. Steady study at the ACTORS STUDIO in Lou Antonio’s sessions were a great resource in going deeper into the craft of acting. Jude was also generously welcomed into the LA musical community. His band, which performs rock, folk, and pop from the last 50 years, with Candy Chase, Craig Stull, Doug Livingston and band captain Bill Severance, has been in action for eight years in the Burbank area. They are a fixture at Cody Bryant’s Viva Cantina. Jude has recorded two cds of original music in LA, both mastered by Rick Cunha. A major thrill for a number of years was working with the performer Stan Corliss in the Jim Roberts Western Roundup at the famous Sportsman’s Lodge. He also had the privilege of returning back East to his home turf and opening for Jim Gaudet at the legendary Café Lena in Saratoga, New York in 2007. Jude returned to Providence R.I. to his alma mater, Brown University, to deliver the Don Wilmeth Lecture in 2012. He was accompanied by his good friend Carver Blanchard on guitar for a short concert of his original songs on that occasion. In 2014 Jude sang on stage in the XMAS MUSICAL SPECTACULAR with the LA Premier Orchestra, conducted by Norman Mamey. On stage, among a number of plays he acted in in the LA theater community, including the highly praised PRT production of Pinter’s THE HOMECOMING under Guillermo Cienfuegos’s direction, Jude is most proud of the theater project he and Bill Bolender founded, The EUMENIDES GROUP, which mounted DRIFT, THE SPEED OF DARKNESS, and THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS, all well received and performed to packed houses. Finally, Jude won best actor awards at a number of film festivals for his performance in the short film, Laura Censabella’s LAST CALL, directed by Bob Bailey. Jude is married to the very talented actress and author, Sylva Kelegian.

 
     
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