Judy Garland

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Judy Garland
Judy Garland Star is Born.jpg
from A Star Is Born (1954)
Birth name Frances Ethel Gumm
Born Jun 10, 1922
Grand Rapids, MN USA Flag of USA.png
Died Jun 22, 1969 - age 47
Chelsea, London England
Years active 1929 - 1969
Spouse(s) David Rose (1941-1944)
Vincente Minnelli (1945-1951)
Sidney Luft (1952-1965)
Mark Herron (1965-1967)
Mickey Deans (1969)
Awards Academy Juvenile Award
1940 Outstanding Performance in 1939

Golden Globe Award for Best Actress
A Star Is Born (1955)
Cecil B. DeMille Award
1962 Lifetime Achievement
Special Tony Award
1952 Lifetime Achievement

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Judy Garland (born Frances Ethel Gumm; June 10, 1922 - June 22, 1969) was an American film actress and singer. Through a career that spanned almost her entire life, Garland attained international acclaim in almost every arena of show business, including film, television, recording and concerts. The American Film Institute named Garland eighth among the Greatest Female Stars of All Time.

In spite of her repeated professional triumphs, Garland battled personal problems and insecurities throughout her life. Financial instability plagued her for much of her life. Multiple marriages failed. She struggled with drug and alcohol addiction and attempted suicide on more than one occasion before finally dying of an accidental drug overdose at the age of 47.


Childhood and early life

Born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, Frances Ethel Gumm was the youngest child of former vaudevillians Frank Gumm and Ethel Marion Milne. Her ancestry on both sides of the family can be traced back to the early colonial days of the United States. Her father Frank was descended from the Marable family of Virginia and her mother from Patrick Fitzpatrick, who arrived in America from Smithtown, County Meath Ireland in the 1770s. Daughter Lorna Luft would write that the family had an "Irish charm" and that "often the family survived on charm alone."

Named after both her parents and baptized at a local Episcopal church, "Baby" (as Frances was affectionately called) shared the family's flair for song and dance. "Baby" Gumm's first appearance came at the age of two-and-a-half, when she joined her two older sisters, Mary Jane ("Suzy") and Dorothy Virginia ("Jimmie") on stage for a chorus of "Jingle Bells" in a Christmas show at her father's movie theater.

The Gumm girls would continue to appear at their father's theatre, accompanied by their mother on piano, for the next few years. In June 1926, following reports that Frank had made sexual advances toward two of the ushers at his theatre, the family relocated to Lancaster, California.[5] Frank would purchase and operate another theatre there and Ethel would begin working to get her children in pictures.

The Gumm Sisters

In 1928, The Gumm Sisters enrolled in the dance school run by Ethel Meglin, proprietress of the Meglin Kiddies dance troupe. The sisters appeared with the troupe at its annual Christmas show. It was through the Meglin Kiddies that Garland and her sisters would make their film debut, in a 1929 short subject called The Big Revue. This was followed by appearances in two Vitaphone shorts the following year, A Holiday in Storyland (featuring Garland's first on-screen solo) and The Wedding of Jack and Jill. They next appeared together in Bubbles. The final on-screen appearance of The Gumm Sisters came in 1935, in another short entitled La Fiesta de Santa Barbara.

In 1934, the sisters, who had been touring the vaudeville circuit as "The Gumm Sisters" for many years, performed in Chicago at the Oriental Theater with George Jessel. He encouraged the group to choose a more appealing name after the name "Gumm" was laughed at by the audience. "The Garland Sisters" was chosen. Soon afterwards, Frances changed her name to "Judy" after a popular song of the day by Hoagy Carmichael.

A rumor persists that the last name Garland was originated by Jessel after Carole Lombard's character Lily Garland in the film Twentieth Century which was then playing at the Oriental; another rumor circulates that the trio picked the surname after drama critic Robert Garland,[8] though her daughter, Lorna Luft, stated that her mother chose the name when Jessel announced that the trio of singers "looked prettier than a garland of flowers." Despite this, another variation surfaced when, in 1963, Jessel was a guest on Garland's television show. He claimed that he had sent actress Judith Anderson a telegram containing the word "garland" and it stuck in his mind; Judy agreed.

Signed at MGM

In 1935 Garland was signed to a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, supposedly without a screen test (she had actually done a test for the studio several months earlier). The studio didn't know what to do with Garland, as she was older than the traditional child star but too young for adult roles. Garland's physical appearance created a dilemma for MGM. At only 4'11 1/2", Garland's "cute" or "girl-next-door" looks did not exemplify the more glamorous looks required for leading ladies of the time and her appearance caused her anxiety. Garland was to go through a transformation process throughout her film career. During her early years at the studio, she was photographed and dressed in plain garments or frilly juvenile gowns and costumes to match the "girl-next-door" image that was created for her.[10][5] She performed at various studio functions and eventually was cast opposite Deanna Durbin in the musical short Every Sunday. The film served as an extended screen test for the pair as studio executives were wondering at the wisdom of having two girl singers on the roster. Louis B. Mayer finally decided to keep both girls (but by then Durbin's option had lapsed and she was signed by Universal Studios).

Garland's first notice by studio executives came after singing an arrangement of "You Made Me Love You" to Clark Gable at a birthday party held by the studio for the actor; her rendition proved so popular that MGM placed Garland and the song in their all-star extravaganza Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937).

On November 16 1935, in the midst of preparing for a radio performance on the Shell Chateau Hour, Garland discovered that her father - who had been hospitalized with spinal meningitis - had taken a turn for the worse. Frank Gumm died the following morning, on November 17. Garland's song for the Shell Chateau Hour was her first professional rendition of "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart", a song which would become a standard in many of her concerts.

MGM hit on a winning formula when it paired Garland with Mickey Rooney in a string of "backyard musicals." The duo first appeared together in the 1937 b movie Thoroughbreds Don't Cry. They became a sensation, and teamed up again in Love Finds Andy Hardy, and then soon after in Babes in Arms. Garland would eventually star with Rooney in nine films.

To keep up with the frantic pace of making one film after another, Garland, Rooney, and other young performers were constantly given amphetamines, as well as barbiturates, to take before bedtime. For Garland, this constant dose of drugs would lead to addiction and a lifelong struggle, as well as her eventual demise. In her later life, she would resent the hectic work and she felt that her youth was stolen from her by MGM. Despite her ability to fill concert halls worldwide, critical praise, successful film and recording careers and several awards, throughout her life she was plagued with self-doubt and required constant reassurance that she was talented. Oscar Levant would later remark that "at parties, Judy could sing all night, endlessly... but when it came time to appear on a movie set, she just wouldn't show up."

The Wizard of Oz

Garland soon landed the lead role of Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz (1939) at the age of 16, in which she introduced the song with which she would forever be identified, "Over the Rainbow". She received an Academy Juvenile Award for her performances in 1939. After Oz, Garland became one of MGM's most bankable stars.

1940 - 1950

In 1940, she starred in three films; Andy Hardy Meets Debutante, Strike Up the Band, and Little Nellie Kelly. In the latter film, Garland played her first adult role (actually a dual role of both mother and daughter). The Little Nellie Kelly project was purchased from George M. Cohan as a vehicle for Garland to assess both her audience appeal and her physical appearance. The role was a challenge for the young actress, requiring the use of an accent, her first adult kiss and her first (and only) death scene. The success of these three films, and a further three films in 1941, secured her position at MGM as a major property.

It was in 1939 - 1940 that Garland had her first serious adult romances. The first was with band leader Artie Shaw. Garland was deeply devoted to Shaw and, she believed, he to her. Garland was devastated in early 1940 when Shaw eloped with Lana Turner . Garland would soon take up with musician David Rose and, on her 18th birthday, Rose gave her an engagement ring. The studio intervened, because Rose was still married at the time to actress and singer Martha Raye. The couple agreed to wait a year to allow for Rose's divorce from Raye to become final. They wed on June 27, 1941.

In 1942, noticeably thinner, she was given the lead role in For Me and My Gal alongside Gene Kelly in his first screen appearance. She was top billed over the credits for the first time and effectively made the direct transition from teenage star to an adult actress.

In 1943, at the age of 21, she was finally given the "glamour treatment" in Presenting Lily Mars, in which she was dressed in "grown-up" gowns. Her lightened hair was also pulled-up in a stylish fashion. Years later when reflecting on her mother's film image, Liza Minnelli stated that in her opinion her mother looked "the most beautiful in this film". However, no matter how glamorous or beautiful she appeared on screen or in photographs, she was never confident in her appearance and never escaped the "girl next door" image that had been created for her. Adding to her insecurity was the dissolution of her marriage to David Rose. Garland, who had aborted her pregnancy by Rose in 1942, agreed to a trial separation in January 1943 and they divorced in 1944.

One of Garland's most successful films for MGM was the 1944 classic Meet Me in St. Louis, in which she introduced three standards: "The Trolley Song", "The Boy Next Door", and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Vincente Minnelli was assigned to direct this movie. Garland was given a new make-up artist specifically requested by Vincente Minnelli. Dorothy Ponedel refined Judy's appearance in several ways, including extending and reshaping her eyebrows, tweezing her hairline, modifying her lip line and getting rid of unnecessary nose discs. Garland appreciated the results so much that Ponedel was written into her contract for all her remaining pictures at MGM. It was during the filming of Meet Me in St. Louis, after some initial conflict between star and director, that Garland would fall in love with Minnelli. They were married June 15, 1945 and on March 12, 1946 a daughter, Liza Minnelli was born.

The Clock (1945) was her first straight dramatic film, opposite Robert Walker. Though the film was critically praised and did earn a profit, most movie fans expected her to sing. It would be many years before she acted again in a non-singing dramatic role.

Garland's other famous films of the 1940s include The Harvey Girls (1946) (in which she introduced "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe", which was the Academy Award winning song for that year), The Pirate and Easter Parade (both 1948).

During filming for The Pirate, in April 1947, Garland suffered a nervous breakdown and was placed in a private sanitarium. She was able to complete filming but in July of that year Garland made her first suicide attempt, making minor cuts to her wrist with a broken glass. Following her work on The Pirate, Garland would complete three more films for MGM; Easter Parade, In the Good Old Summertime and her final film with MGM, Summer Stock.

There were a series of films which Garland was unable to complete. During the filming of The Barkleys of Broadway Garland was taking prescription sleeping medication along with illicitly obtained pills containing morphine. These in combination with migraine headaches led Garland to miss several shooting days in a row. After being advised by Garland's doctor that she would only be able to work in four- to five-day increments with extended rest periods between, MGM executive Arthur Freed made the decision to suspend Garland on July 18, 1948. She was replaced with Ginger Rogers. Garland was cast in the movie adaptation of Annie Get Your Gun in the title role of Annie Oakley. Garland was nervous at the prospect of taking on a role strongly identified with Ethel Merman, was anxious about appearing in an unglamourous role after breaking from juvenile parts for several years and disturbed by her treatment at the hands of director Busby Berkeley. She began arriving late to the set and would sometimes not show up at all. She was suspended from the picture on May 10, 1949. She was replaced with Betty Hutton. She was next cast in the film Royal Wedding when June Allyson became pregnant in 1950. Garland again failed to report to the set on multiple occasions. The studio suspended her contract on June 17, 1950 and she was replaced with Jane Powell. A despondent Garland slashed her throat with a broken water glass. "All I could see ahead was more confusion," Garland would say later of this attempt. "I wanted to black out the future as well as the past. I wanted to hurt myself and everyone else."

Renewed stardom on the stage

In 1951, Garland divorced Vincente Minnelli. She took on Sid Luft as her manager that same year. Luft arranged a four-month concert tour of the United Kingdom, where she played to sold out audiences throughout England, Scotland, and Ireland. The tour included Garland's first appearances at the renowned London Palladium for a four-week stand in April. Although the British press chided her before her opening for being "too plump," she received rave reviews upon her opening and the ovation was described by the Palladium manager as the loudest he'd ever heard.

In October 1951, Garland opened in a vaudeville-style two-a-day engagement at Broadway's newly-refurbished Palace Theatre. Her 19-week engagement shattered all previous records for the theatre and was described as "one of the greatest personal triumphs in show business history." Garland was honored for her contribution to the revival of vaudeville with a special Tony Award.

Garland's triumphs were marred by her mother, Ethel. In May 1952, at the height of Garland's comeback, Ethel was featured in a Los Angeles Mirror story in which she revealed that while Garland was making a small fortune at the Palace, Ethel was working a desk job at Douglas Aircraft Company for $61 a week. Garland and Ethel had been estranged for years, with Garland characterizing her mother as "no good for anything except to create chaos and fear" and accusing her of mis-managing and misappropriating Garland's salary from the earliest days of her career. Garland's sister Virginia denied this last, stating "Mama never took a dime from Judy." On January 5, 1953, Ethel was found dead in the Douglas Aircraft parking lot.

Garland and Luft were married June 8, 1952 in Hollister, California, the third marriage for each of them. Garland gave birth to the couple's first child, Lorna, on November 21 that year.

A Star Is Born

In 1954, Garland went before the cameras for Warner Bros. with a musical remake of A Star Is Born. Luft and Garland, through their production company Transcona, would actually produce the film while Warner Bros. would supply the funds, production facilities and crew. Directed by George Cukor and co-starring James Mason, it was a large undertaking to which Garland initially fully dedicated herself. As shooting progressed, however, she began making the same pleas of illness which she had so often made during her final films at MGM. Production delays led to cost overruns and angry confrontations with Warner Bros. head Jack Warner. Principal photography wrapped on March 17, 1954. At Luft's suggestion, the "Born in a Trunk" medley was filmed as a showcase for Garland and inserted over director Cukor's objections, who feared the additional length would lead to cuts in other ares. The "Trunk" sequence was completed on July 29, 1954.

Upon its September 29 World Premiere, the film was met with tremendous critical and popular acclaim. However, even before release it was subject to the tinkering edits of Jack Warner and theatre operators, concerned that they were losing money by being able to run the film for three or four shows per day instead of five or six, pressured the studio to make additional cuts. About 30 minutes of footage was cut, sparking outrage amongst critics and filmgoers. A Star is Born ended up losing money and the secure financial position Garland had expected from the profits would not materialize. Transcona would make no more films with Warner.

Garland was was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress and in the run-up to the 27th Academy Awards, Garland was believed to be the likely winner. She could not attend the ceremony because she had just given birth to her son, Joseph Luft. A television crew was in Garland's hospital room with cameras and wires to televise Garland's acceptance speech. However, the Oscar went instead to Grace Kelly for The Country Girl (1954). The camera crew was packing up before Kelly could even reach the stage. Groucho Marx famously sent her a telegram after the awards declaring her loss "the biggest robbery since Brinks." She did win the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Musical for the role.

Garland's films after A Star Is Born included: Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) (for which she was Oscar-nominated for Best Supporting Actress), the animated feature Gay Purr-ee (1962), A Child Is Waiting (1963, co-starring Burt Lancaster), and her final film, I Could Go On Singing (1963, co-starring Dirk Bogarde), which mirrored her own life in the story of a world famous singing star. Garland’s last screen performance of a song was the prophetic I Could Go on Singing at the end of the film.

Concerts, Carnegie Hall and television

Beginning in 1955, Garland appeared in a number of television specials. The first, the 1955 debut episode of Ford Star Jubilee, was the first full-scale color broadcast ever on CBS and was a ratings triumph, scoring a 34.8 Nielsen rating. Garland signed a three-year, $300,000 contract with the network. Only one additional special, a live concert edition of General Electric Theater, would be broadcast in 1956 before the relationship between the Lufts and CBS broke down in a dispute over the planned format of upcoming specials. In 1956, Garland did four weeks at the New Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas for a salary of $55,000 per week. This made her the highest-paid entertainer to work in Las Vegas to that date. Despite a brief bout of laryngitis in the middle of the run, her performances there were so successful that her run was extended an extra week. Later that year she would return to the Palace Theatre, site of her two-a-day triumph. She opened in September, once again to rave reviews and popular acclaim.

In November 1959, Garland was hospitalized, diagnosed with acute hepatitis. Over the next few weeks several quarts of fluid were drained from her body until, still weak, she was released from the hospital in January 1960. She was told by doctors that she likely had five years or less to live and that even if she did survive she would be a semi-invalid and would never sing again. She intially felt "greatly relieved" at the diagnosis. "The pressure was off me for the first time in my life." However, Garland successfully recovered over the next several months and, in August of that year, returned to the stage of the Palladium. She felt so warmly embraced by the British that she announced her intentions to move permanantly to England.

Her concert appearance at Carnegie Hall on April 23, 1961, was a considerable highlight, called by many "the greatest night in show business history." The 2-record Judy at Carnegie Hall album was certified gold, charting for 95 weeks on Billboard including 13 weeks at number one. The album won five Grammy Awards including Album of the Year and Best Female Vocal of the Year. The album has never been out of print.

In 1961, Garland and CBS settled their contract disputes with the help of her new agent, Freddie Fields, and negotiated a new round of specials. The first, entitled The Judy Garland Show, aired in 1962 and featured guests Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Following this success, CBS made a $24 million offer to Garland for a weekly television series of her own, also to be called The Judy Garland Show, which was deemed at the time in the press to be "the biggest talent deal in TV history." Although Garland had said as early as 1955 that she would never do a weekly television series, in the early 1960s she was in a financially precarious situation. Garland was several hundred thousand dollars in debt to the Internal Revenue Service, having failed to pay taxes in 1951 and 1952, and the financial failure of A Star is Born meant that she would see nothing from that investment. A successful run on television would secure Garland's financial future.

Following a third special, the awkwardly-titled Judy Garland and Her Guests Phil Silvers and Robert Goulet, Garland's weekly series debuted September 29, 1963. The Judy Garland Show was critically praised, but for a variety of reasons, including being placed in the time slot opposite Bonanza on NBC, the show lasted only one season, and went off the air in 1964, after 26 episodes. Despite this, the series was nominated for four Emmy Awards. The demise of the series was personally and financially devastating for Garland. She never fully recovered from its failure.

Final years

With the demise of her television series, Garland returned to the stage. Most notably, she performed at the London Palladium with her then 18-year-old daughter Liza Minnelli in November 1964. The concert, which was also filmed for British television network ITV, was one of Garland's final appearances at the venue. She made guest appearances on the The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show, The Hollywood Palace and The Merv Griffin Show (of which she guest-hosted an episode).

Garland sued Sid Luft for divorce in 1963, claiming "cruelty" as the grounds. She also asserted that Luft had repeatedly struck her while he was drinking and that he had attempted to take their children from her by force. She had filed for divorce more than once previously, including as early as 1956.

A 1964 tour of Australia was largely disastrous. Garland's first concert in Sydney, held in Sydney Stadium because no concert hall could accomodate the crowds who wanted to see her, went well and received positive reviews. Her second performance, in Melbourne, started an hour late. The crowd of 70,000, angered by her tardiness and believing her to be drunk, booed and heckled. Finally Garland fled the stage after just 45 minutes. She would later characterize the Melbourne crowd as "brutish." A second concert in Sydney was uneventful but the Melbourne appearance garnered her significant bad press. Some of that bad press, however, was deflected by the announcement of another near-death experience (this time from pleurisy) followed by Garland's fourth marriage, to tour promoter Mark Herron. The pair announced that their marriage had taken place aboard a freighter off the coast of Hong Kong. However, she was not legally divorced from Luft at the time this "marriage" was performed. Her divorce from Luft became final on May 19, 1965, but Herron and Garland would not legally marry until November 14, 1965.

In February 1967, Garland was cast as "Helen Lawson" in Valley of the Dolls for 20th Century Fox. The character of "Neely O'Hara" in the book by Jacqueline Susann and subsequent movie was rumored to have been based on Garland, though the role in the film was played by Patty Duke. During the filming, Garland missed rehearsals and was fired in April. She was replaced by Susan Hayward.

Returning to the stage, Garland made her last appearances at New York's Palace Theatre in July, a 16-show tour, performing with her children Lorna and Joey Luft. Garland wore a sequined pants-suit on stage for this tour, which was part of the original wardrobe for her character in Valley of the Dolls.

By early 1969, Garland's health had deteriorated rapidly. She performed in London, at the Talk of the Town nightclub for a five-week run and made her last concert appearance in Copenhagen during March 1969. She married her final husband, Mickey Deans, in London on March 17, 1969.

On June 22, 1969, Garland was found dead by husband (Mickey Deans) in the bathroom of her rented Chelsea, London house. Coroner Gavin Thursdon stated at the inquest that the cause of death was "an incautious overdose" of barbiturates; her blood contained the equivalent of ten 1.5-grain Seconal capsules. Garland had turned 47 just over a week prior to her death.

At Garland's funeral, The Wizard of Oz co-star Ray Bolger commented, "She just plain wore out." An estimated 20,000 people lined up for hours at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home to view her body. Garland was interred in Ferncliff Cemetery, in Hartsdale, New York.


Judy Garland's legacy as a performer and a personality have endured long after her death. She has been the subject of some two dozen biographies since her death, including the well-received Me and My Shadows: A Family Memoir by daughter Lorna Luft. Luft's memoir was later adapted into the multiple award-winning television mini-series Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows, which won Emmy awards for two actresses portraying Garland (Tammy Blanchard and Judy Davis). Garland was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. Several of her recordings have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. These include "Over the Rainbow," which was ranked as the number 1 movie song of all time in the American Film Institute's "100 Years...100 Songs" list. Four more Garland songs are featured on the list: "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (#76), "Get Happy" (#61), "The Trolley Song" (#26), and "The Man That Got Away" (#11). Garland has twice been honored on U.S. postage stamps, in 1989 (as Dorothy)[60] and again in 2006 (as Vicki Lester from A Star Is Born)

Of particular note is Garland's status as a gay icon. The reasons most frequently given (beyond her enormous talent as a performer) for her standing, especially amongst gay men, are the way her personal struggles supposedly mirrored those of gay men in America during the height of her fame and her value as a camp figure. A connection is frequently drawn between the timing of Garland's death and funeral, in June 1969, and the Stonewall Riots, the flashpoint of the modern Gay Liberation movement.

Pin-up Gallery


  • 1922: Father was movie theater owner Francis 'Frank' Gumm (born 20 March, 1886 - died 17 November, 1935). Mother was Ethel Milne (born 17 November, 1893 - died 05 January, 1953).
  • 1922: She was three-quarters Scottish and one-quarter Irish in ancestry. And was first cousin three times removed of President 'Ulysses S. Grant'.
  • 1939: Favorite actor was Robert Donat (best known for his portrayal of the title character in the film Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)).
  • 1939: Her performance as Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz (1939) is ranked #17 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
  • 1939: Her soulful and iconic performance of "Over The Rainbow" from The Wizard of Oz (1939) claimed the #1 spot on June 22, 2004 in The American Film Institute's list of "The 100 Years of The Greatest Songs". The AFI board said "Over The Rainbow" have captured the nation's heart, echoed beyond the walls of a movie theater, and ultimately stand in our collective memory of the film itself. It has resonated across the century, enriching America's film heritage and captivating artists and audiences today.
  • 1939: Is the former mother-in-law of Jack Haley Jr., who is the son of The Wizard of Oz (1939) co-star Jack Haley.
  • 1939: Was considered for the role of Careen O'Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939), but the role was eventually given to Ann Rutherford, so Judy instead began working on The Wizard of Oz (1939) after Shirley Temple had been dropped from the project.
  • 1939: Wore fake teeth for The Wizard of Oz (1939).
  • 1942/43:During her first marriage to David Rose, Judy was forced to undergo an abortion at the insistence of MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer who feared that pregnancy would hurt her good-girl image. The event left her traumatized for the rest of her life.
  • 1942: Judy heard the same phrase in two movies: For Me and My Gal (1942) and Easter Parade (1948). In both, her love interest (played by Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, respectively) says this: "Why didn't you tell me I was in love with you?"
  • 1944: The famous theme song David Raksin wrote for the film Laura (1944) was originally entitled "Judy" in honor of her.
  • 1945: Betty Asher, who worked on the MGM lots, served as her maid of honor during her wedding to Vincente Minnelli in 1945.
  • 1945: When she married Vincente Minnelli, Louis B. Mayer gave her away.
  • 1946 Mother of Liza Minnelli
  • 1946 -The godparents of her daughter Liza Minnelli were Ira Gershwin and Kay Thompson
  • 1946: Was pregnant with her first child Liza Minnelli while filming her minor role in Till the Clouds Roll By (1946). In order to hide her pregnant stomach she was hidden behind stacks of dishes while singing "Look For The Silver Lining". She had also recorded a song "Do You Love Me", which was cut before release. Her scenes were directed by her then husband Vincente Minnelli.
  • 195: She only performed "Over The Rainbow" twice during her many television appearances, which spanned 14 years. She performed it on her first TV Special, "Ford Star Jubilee" (1955) episode, "The Judy Garland Special" in 1955, and sang it to her children on The Christmas Edition of her weekly "The Judy Garland Show" (1963).
  • 1950: Footage exists of Garland performing the lead role in Annie Get Your Gun (1950) before she was fired, and this footage has been used in numerous documentaries.
  • 1951: Her record "Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall" garnered five Grammy Awards and remained at the top of Billboard's charts for two months.
  • 1952 Mother of Lorna Luft.
  • 1952: Johnnie Ray was best man at her wedding to fifth husband Mickey Deans.
  • 1952: Received a Special Tony Award "for an important contribution to the revival of vaudeville through her recent stint at the Palace Theatre.".
  • 1954: Groucho Marx called her not winning an Oscar for A Star Is Born (1954), "the biggest robbery since Brink's." Hedda Hopper later reported that her loss to Grace Kelly for The Country Girl (1954) was the result of the closest Oscar vote up till that time that didn't end in a tie, with just six votes separating the two. In any event, it was a heartbreak from which she never really recovered and which has remained a matter of some controversy ever since.
  • 1955: Did not attend the 1955 Academy Awards, where she was nominated as Best Actress for her portrayal of Vicki Lester in A Star Is Born (1954), because she was in hospital after giving birth to her third child and only son Joey Luft.
  • 1955: Mother of Joey Luft.
  • 1955: Was close friends with Lauren Bacall, who had once been her neighbor during the 1950s. Had Judy won the 1955 Best Actress Oscar for A Star Is Born (1954), Lauren would have accepted the Oscar statuette on her behalf.
  • 1960: She experienced financial difficulties in the 1960s due to her overspending, periods of unemployment, owing of back taxes and embezzlement of funds by her business manager. The IRS garnished most of her concert revenues in the late 1960s. Her financial difficulties combined with her erratic behavior due to her drug dependencies helped break up her marriages and estrange her children from her a year before her death.
  • 1961: After serving as the music director on her short-lived CBS series, Mel Tormé wrote a vicious tell-all book about his talented but challenging former boss. So frustrated from the experience, his words in "The Other Side of The Rainbow: With Judy Garland on the Dawn Patrol" portrayed Garland as hopelessly drug-addicted, unprofessional and a horror to work with. According to singer Mel Tormé, she had a powerful gift of retention. She could view a piece of music once and have the entire thing memorized.
  • 1964, June 12th: She married Mark Herron, although her divorce from Sidney Luft was not settled. They were married in Mandarin by a Buddhist monk, and the validity of this marriage is not clear.
  • 1964: Garlands’ portrayal of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (1939) was the inspiration for the character of Mary Ann on "Gilligan's Island" (1964). (From Kansas, pigtails, lived on a farm with an aunt and uncle...)
  • 1967: Originally screen-tested and signed to play the main supporting role of Helen Lawson, in Valley of the Dolls (1967). The studio even provided her with a pool table in her dressing room at her request. Eventually she backed out of the film and was ultimately replaced by Susan Hayward. She kept her costume when she walked off the film, and proceeded to wear the sequined pantsuit while performing in concerts around the world. The character of Neely O'Hara in the film was partially based on her own history (with pills, alcohol, and failed marriages). Sadly, it was Garland's real-life pill addiction that contributed to her leaving this film.
  • 1969, June 27: Her funeral was held in Manhattan at the Frank E. Campbell funeral home at Madison Ave. and 81st St., and 22,000 people filed past her open coffin over a 24-hour period. Ex-husband Vincente Minnelli did not attend. James Mason delivered the eulogy. Her body had been stored in a temporary crypt for over one year. The reason for this is that no one had come forward to pay the expense of moving her to a permanent resting spot at Ferncliff Cemetery in Ardsley, NY. Liza Minnelli had the impression that Judy's last husband, Mickey Deans, had made the necessary arrangements but Deans claimed to have no money. Liza then took on the task of raising the funds to have her properly buried. Death was caused by an "incautious self-overdosage of Seconal" which had raised the barbiturate level in her body beyond its tolerance.
  • 1969: Interred at Ferncliff Cemetery, Hartsdale, New York, USA.
  • 1969: Liza Minnelli originally wanted Mickey Rooney to deliver Garland's eulogy, but she was afraid that he wouldn't be able to get through it. So James Mason did it instead.
  • 1969: She was considered an icon in the gay community in the 1950s and 1960s. Her death and the loss of that emotional icon in 1969 has been thought to be a contributing factor to the feeling of the passing of an era that helped spark the Stonewall Riots that began the militant gay rights movement.
  • 1969: The day she died, there was a tornado in Kansas.
  • 1976: "Quiet Please, There's A Lady On Stage" was written by Peter Allen as a tribute to her.
  • 1990 March 23: Pictured on one of four 25¢ USA commemorative postage stamps honoring classic films released in 1939. The stamp shows Judy Garland as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (1939), along with Toto (portrayed by Terry). The other films honored were Beau Geste (1939), Stagecoach (1939), and Gone with the Wind (1939).
  • 1991: Has a special variety of rose named after her. The petals are yellow (Garland adored yellow roses) and the tips are bright red. It took devoted fans almost nine years after her death to find a rose company in Britain interested in naming a rose officially for her, and the Judy Garland rose didn't appear in the US until 1991. Several JG rose bushes are planted outside of her burial crypt, and at the Judy Garland museum in Grand Rapids.
  • 1997: Posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • 1998: Garland's album, "Judy at Carnegie Hall" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
  • 2001: Is portrayed by Judy Davis and Tammy Blanchard in Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows (2001) (TV), by Elizabeth Karsell in James Dean (2001) (TV) and by Andrea McArdle in Rainbow (1978) (TV).
  • 2002: in September, a Los Angeles federal judge barred Sidney Luft from selling the replacement Juvenile Oscar she received for The Wizard of Oz (1939). Luft was also ordered to pay nearly $60,000 to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to end their second lawsuit against him for repeatedly trying to sell the statuette.
  • 2006 June 10th: Pictured on a 39¢ USA commemorative postage stamp in the Legends of Hollywood series.
  • 2006: Her performance as Vicki Lester in A Star Is Born (1954) is ranked #72 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time.
  • As a teenager on the MGM lots, she was good friends with Lana Turner and Ann Rutherford.
  • Garland discouraged her children from entering show business, pointing out her financial and health problems resulting from the nature of the entertainment business. Nevertheless, two of her children, Liza Minnelli and Lorna Luft both became entertainers. Her son Joe lives in relative anonymity as a freelance photographer.
  • Gave birth to all three of her children via Caesarean section. She also suffered from postpartum depression after the birth of her two daughters Liza Minnelli and Lorna Luft.
  • Godfather of her daughter Lorna Luft was Frank Sinatra
  • Grandmother of Vanessa and Jesse Richards, children of singer Lorna Luft.
  • Grew up in California.
  • Had intense fears of both flying and guns.
  • Her weight fluctuated much throughout her life. Sometimes she would be 80 pounds and then could gain 30 pounds in a matter of days, only to lose it all again. An example of this weight fluctuation can be seen in Summer Stock (1950).
  • Liza Minnelli said that Judy planned on calling her autobiography "Ho-Hum".
  • Mother-in-law of Jack Haley Jr.
  • She was voted the 22nd Greatest Movie Star of all time by Premiere Magazine.
  • She was voted the 23rd Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
  • Sister of Mary Jane Gumm and Virginia Gumm.
  • Was a member of The International Order of Job's Daughters.
  • Was named #8 Actress on The AFI 50 Greatest Screen Legends

Personal Quotes
  • I was born at the age of 12 on a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lot.
  • "She was the real Wicked Witch of the West." (On her sadistic stage mother)
  • My mother had a marvelous talent for mishandling money - mine. When I was put under stock contract at Metro and had a steady income for the first time, we lived in a four-unit apartment building. I suggested to Mother that we buy it as an investment and rent the other three apartments. She hit me in the mouth and invested the money in a nickel mine in Needles, California, that has never been found. We never got a nickel back.
  • Reporter: "I understand you have a very large gay following, Miss Garland." Judy: "I couldn't care less. I sing to people!"
  • How strange when an illusion dies. It's as though you've lost a child.
  • Well, we have a whole new year ahead of us. And wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all be a little more gentle with each other, and a little more loving, have a little more empathy, and maybe - next year at this time - we'd like each other a little more.
  • [MGM] had us working days and nights on end. They'd give us pep-up pills to keep us on our feet long after we were exhausted. Then they'd take us to the studio hospital and knock us cold with sleeping pills... Then after four hours they'd wake us up and give us the pep-up pills again so we could work another seventy-two hours in a row.
  • Hollywood is a strange place if you're in trouble. Everybody thinks it's contagious.
  • I wanted to believe and I tried my damndest to believe in the rainbow that I tried to get over and couldn't. So what? Lots of people can't...
  • As for my feelings toward 'Over the Rainbow,' it's become part of my life. It is so symbolic of all my dreams and wishes that I'm sure that's why people sometimes get tears in their eyes when they hear it.
  • In the silence of night I have often wished for just a few words of love from one man, rather than the applause of thousands of people.
  • Some of the (midget) men used to tease me while we were making The Wizard of Oz, used to sneak under my dress! I told them if they ever went under there - and I found out about it - they were in big trouble!
  • [on Liza Minnelli] I think she decided to go into show business when she was an embryo, she kicked so much.

Gay Purr-ee (1962) $50,000 + 10% gross
Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) $50,000
A Star Is Born (1954) $100,000 + 50% of profits
Summer Stock (1950) $150,000
Words and Music (1948) $100,000
Easter Parade (1948) $150,000
The Pirate (1948) $150,000
The Harvey Girls (1946) $3,000/week
Girl Crazy (1943) $29,000
For Me and My Gal (1942) $2,000/week
Babes on Broadway (1941) $2,000/week
Strike Up the Band (1940) $500/week
Babes in Arms (1939) $8,900
The Wizard of Oz (1939) $500/week
Listen, Darling (1938) $500/week
Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938) $300/week
Thoroughbreds Don't Cry (1937) $300/week
Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937) $200/week
Every Sunday (1936) $100/week


  • Clark, Gerald. Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland. Random House. New York, 2001. < ISBN:0375503781 > Buy it from Amazon.com
  • DiOrio, Jr., Al. Little Girl Lost: The Life and Hard Times of Judy Garland. Manor Books. New York, 1973
  • Edwards, Anne. Judy Garland. Simon and Schuster. New York, 1975. (paperback edition) < ISBN:671802283 > Buy it from Amazon.com
  • Finch, Christopher. Rainbow: The Stormy Life of Judy Garland. Ballantine Books. 1975. (paperback edition) < ISBN:0345251733 > Buy it from Amazon.com
  • Frank, Gerold. Judy. Da Capo, New Edition. New York, 1999. < ISBN:0306808943 > Buy it from Amazon.com
  • Juneau, James. Judy Garland: A Pyramid Illustrated History of the Movies. Pyramid Publications. 1974, New York. < ISBN:0515034827 > Buy it from Amazon.com
  • Luft, Lorna. My and My Shadows: A Family Memoir. Simon and Schuster. New York, 1999. < ISBN:0283063203 > Buy it from Amazon.com
  • Sanders, Coyne Steven. Rainbow's End: The Judy Garland Show. Zebra Books. 1990 (paperback edition) < ISBN:0821737082 > Buy it from Amazon.com
  • Seaman, Barbara. Lovely Me: The Life of Jacqueline Susann. Seven Stories Press. 1996, New York. (1996 edition) < ISBN:096587706 > Buy it from Amazon.com
  • Shipman, David. Judy Garland: The Secret Life of an American Legend. Hyperion. New York, 1992. (paperback edition) < ISBN:0786880260 > Buy it from Amazon.com

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