Judy Carne, the British actress known as the “Sock-It-to-Me Girl” on the late-’60s variety show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, has died at 76. Carne’s death was confirmed by her friend, Jon Barrett, to the New York Times after being first reported by the Northants Herald & Post, the newspaper for Carne’s hometown of Northampton. Carne’s niece, Marnie Butcher, also posted about her death in a Facebook post, writing, “RIP Judy Carne, you’re not suffering anymore.”
Carne became an overnight star on Laugh-In in 1968, playing a zany, Carnaby Street-clad persona who got doused with water or otherwise pranked anytime she uttered the phrase “Sock it to me!” (which happened with great frequency). Carne starred in the first two of the show’s five seasons and made occasional appearances in the third.
Born Joyce Audrey Botterill in 1939 to greengrocer parents, Carne began her screen career on British TV programs such as Danger Man and The Rag Trade in the early 1960s before heading to the U.S., where she appeared in shows such as Fair Exchange, Love on a Rooftop and The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
In 1963, she met and wed then-upcoming actor Burt Reynolds; their tumultuous marriage ended three years later. A second marriage, to TV producer Robert Bergmann in 1970, lasted less than a year.
Carne chronicled the ups-and-downs of her life and career — including her battle with heroin addiction and legal troubles — in her 1985 memoir Laughing on the Outside, Crying on the Inside.
“What I have realized is I don’t have to be a star,” Carne told PEOPLE in 1978, after she broke the second vertebra in her back in a car accident. “I just want to work. Whatever turns up, that’s where I’ll go. […] I lost sight of myself in the last few years. My whole life has been extremes. It took me near death to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
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