One is a Suffolk University Professor, the Other a Hollywood Actress

5/19/2001

Together, they share a special Mother-Daughter relationship. Judy Dushku vaguely remembers one of the scariest times of her life.

It was during the winter and the Suffolk University government professor was on her way home after class. As she made her way down Temple Street, she tripped and fell.

That’s when the story becomes a little fuzzy. She blacked out. She was also nine months pregnant.

"When I came to, I was lying down on a pew in church," explained Dushku. "I guess these people saw me on the street and carried me there." She recalls rubbing her right hand over her stomach. "Don’t worry Eliza," she said. "We’ll be all right."

It is now 20 years later and everything turned out fine. Judy and Eliza are as close as a mother and daughter can be. "My mother is my best friend and my hero," said Eliza. "She is my closest bond with anyone in the world."

"We share a very special and powerful relationship," said Judy. "It’s constant and dynamic."

Although they live roughly 3,000 miles away ­ Judy in Watertown, Eliza in Los Angeles ­ they communicate almost daily via telephone or e-mail. Judy, 59, wants to know how her daughter, a popular young actress, is doing on and off the set. Eliza, 20, is interested to learn how her mother, a renowned educator at Suffolk for the past 36 years, is doing in and out of the classroom.

The passion for life generated by these two personable, inquisitive and determined women is incredible. Trying to keep up with them is a major challenge. They just keep going, like the bunny in the Energizer commercial.

"My mom is the most outgoing woman I’ve ever met," said Eliza.

"Eliza approaches whatever she does with amazing intensity," said Judy.

Eliza, who has three older brothers, has been acting professionally for 10 years. She’s worked with Robert DeNiro, Arnold Schwarznegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Paul Reiser and Jim Belushi. Her big break came when she played Faith on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She was in last summer’s cheerleading comedy, Bring It On, and will soon appear in movies such as Soul Survivors, City by the Sea, The New Guy, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

While Judy has always been there for Eliza, even serving as her manager at one time, she hasn’t been overbearing with her daughter’s career. "My mother has never been a stage mom," said Eliza. "She is super liberal and has kind of stayed in the background. But I rarely make a decision without talking to her first."

Judy may not interfere with her daughter’s business, but she does get excited seeing her on the big screen. When Bring It On first came out, Judy hurried to the theatre with her husband, Jim, and some friends. She sat there quietly until Eliza appeared.

Judy then blurted out for everyone to hear, "Will someone give me a reality check. Did she (Eliza) light up the screen or is it because I’m her mother."

Judy has always emphasized to Eliza, a 1998 graduate of Watertown High School, the importance of receiving a good education. In fact, Eliza was enrolled at Suffolk University three years ago. She got her dorm assignment and planned what posters to put on her wall. She went to orientation and picked her courses, wondering if she would be able to get up for her 9 a.m. classes.

Then her agent called from the Hollywood and told her she was wanted on Buffy The Vampire Slayer for a major, full-season role. Good-bye academic books. Hello television script.

Does she plan on receiving a college education one day? "Yes, I do," said Eliza. "That’s a definite."

On Mother’s Day, Eliza sent Judy flowers. Judy accepted them with open arms. "My mom is the best," said Eliza, flashing her Pepsodent smile. "She’s loved me so much from day one. I feel we’re so connected, like a team."

She sat back in her chair for a moment, reflecting even further about her guardian angel. "You know, anytime I think of my mom, no matter where I am, I think of her laugh," said Eliza. "She cares so much about people and exudes trust, kindness and wisdom with everyone she meets. I hope to be like her someday."

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