‘Home Improvement’: Ashley Judd Was Deemed ‘So Good’ When Auditioning for Pamela Anderson Role

by Suzanne Halliburton

Given how big her acting career became, it’s difficult to envision Ashley Judd on Home Improvement.

But she almost was on one of television’s most popular sitcoms of the 1990s. Ashley Judd, daughter of Naomi and sister of Wynonna, auditioned for a small part on Home Improvement. The series launched the acting career of Tim Allen. We’ll never know how it could’ve impacted Ashley Judd.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, show creator Matt Williams brought up Ashley Judd as he talked about the series. She auditioned to be a Tool Time girl.

”When Ashley came in and read for the part I thought, My God, this girl is so talented!” Williams said.

So Williams called Judd’s agent with another plan. He said he told the agent that she “was so good, we would find a way to incorporate her into the series, period.”

But that never happened. Williams decided Ashley Judd could play the sister of Tim Allen’s character. However, Judd nixed the idea.

Williams said: ”We didn’t hear anything for about two days after the offer, and then her agent called and said, ‘You know, Ashley’s thought about it, and she’s not ready to go into television right now. She thinks she has a feature career.”

Ashley Judd did have a career in movies as a featured actress. Years after the offer, Williams even directed Judd in “Where the Heart Is.”

Judd is now 52. She dabbled early in television, guest starring in two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. She also had a reoccurring role in Sisters, playing the daughter of Alex, who was portrayed by Swoosie Kurtz.

By 1993, Ashley Judd earned her first starring role in a movie when she played the title character in “Ruby in Paradise.”

And by 2004, she picked up her first major award nomination. She was a Golden Globes nominee for best actress for her portrayal of Cole Porter’s wife in “De-Lovely.”

Over the past decade, she’s become more politically active, especially for causes with women and girls and reproductive health.

Now, about that part in Home Improvement. Matt Williams said he asked Judd about it when they made the movie “Where the Heart Is.”

”When I met with her for this movie, I asked her if she remembered all this, and she said, ‘Absolutely, absolutely!”’ he said. ”She told me she went for a long walk on the beach and thought, ‘Am I ready to commit to a series? I’ve never made any money as an actress, so how do I turn my back on this?’ She said she agonized over it for a couple of days.”

So, who got the Home Improvement part Judd initially wanted?

That would be Pamela Anderson, who was a year away from landing a part as C.J. the life guard in Bay Watch. And now you know your 1990s TV trivia.