Judy Garland

Judy Garland


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Judy Garland was an American singer and actor, without doubt one of the greatest stars of Hollywood`s Golden Era of musical film. As a child, Garland made the song, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” famous in the 1939 film, "The Wizard of Oz."Birth and youthful careerJudy Garland was born Frances Ethel Gumm in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, on June 10, 1922, to Frank and Ethel Gumm. Frances performed with her sisters, known as the “Gumm Sisters," and was called "Baby Gumm" until she named her name to Judy. George Jessel changed the girls` performing name to the "Garland Sisters," at the Oriental Theatre in Chicago during the 1934 World`s Fair.Judy was signed with MGM at the age of 13. Her role in “Broadway Melody of 1938” with Clark Gable brought her to the public eye. Judy made several films with Mickey Rooney, but it was her role as Dorothy in "Oz" that made her famous. She won an honorary Oscar as an outstanding screen juvenile.

Too much workGarland shone in numerous movie performances. Highlights of her career include “Meet me in St. Louis” (1944), “Easter Parade” (1948), “A Star is Born” (1954), and “Judgment at Nuremburg” (1961). She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in “Nuremburg” and Best Actress for her role in "Star is Born."To keep up with the frantic pace of making movie after movie, Garland, Rooney, and other young performers were given amphetamines to keep them going, and barbiturates before bedtime. That constant regimen of drugs led to Garland`s lifelong struggle with addiction — and her eventual death.When Garland`s contract was up in 1950, she turned to live concert appearances, then television. Her concert at ^Carnegie Hall, on April 23, 1961, was a huge success. The live recording of that concert was on the top of the Billboard chart for 13 weeks, and remained on the chart for 73 weeks. The recording won an unprecedented five Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year and Best Female Vocal of the Year.In the early 1960s, CBS offered Garland a weekly television series of her own. “The Judy Garland Show” garnered praise from the critics, but it was placed in the time slot opposite “Bonanza.” Despite winning four Emmy nominations, the show was canceled in 1964 after one season. The cancellation had a devastating impact on Garland, emotionally and financially.

Fighting addictionGarland sought solace in alcohol, prescription sedatives, and stimulants. There were, however, short periods in her life when she attempted to get "clean," but she was never able to stay off the drugs and alcohol. Garland spent her life struggling to overcome many personal problems, including addiction, to no avail.She was found dead by her last husband, Mickey Deans, on June 22, 1969. She was living in Chelsea, London, when she died at the age of 47. The cause of death was an accidental overdose of barbiturates. Garland`s remains were buried at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.Garland was married five times and had three children. Liza Minnelli was her first child from her second marriage. Lorna and Joey Luft were from her third marriage. She was married to Deans for just three months when she died.Judy Garland appeared in more than 40 movies and short films, and recorded 10 albums in her lifetime.

A good drug treatment center locator could have come in handy for Hollywood legends who have suffered from drug addiction at the height of their fame.


For additional famous women, see Significant Women in America.


Judy Garland

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Judy Garland, original name Frances Ethel Gumm, (born June 10, 1922, Grand Rapids, Minnesota, U.S.—died June 22, 1969, London, England), American singer and actress whose exceptional talents and vulnerabilities combined to make her one of the most enduringly popular Hollywood icons of the 20th century.

What was Judy Garland’s childhood like?

Born Frances Gumm, Garland was the daughter of former vaudevillians who operated a theatre in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. She made her stage debut at age 2½, received her first review in Variety as a 10-year-old singing sensation, and became a juvenile film star as a contract player for MGM, frequently paired with Mickey Rooney.

How did Judy Garland get famous?

Although Garland had gained popularity in her first motion pictures with Mickey Rooney, she became an international star by playing Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (1939), in which she sang one of her signature songs, “Over the Rainbow,” and for which she won a special Academy Award for “outstanding performance by a screen juvenile.”

What were Judy Garland’s major accomplishments?

Garland gave iconic film performances in The Wizard of Oz (1939), Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), Easter Parade (1948), and A Star Is Born (1954). She is also remembered as the singer of “You Made Me Love You” and “Over the Rainbow” and for the concert album Judy at Carnegie Hall (1961).

What did Judy Garland die from?

Garland died from an accidental barbiturate overdose in London on June 22, 1969, less than two weeks after her 47th birthday. Her exceptional talents and vulnerabilities had made her one of the most enduringly popular Hollywood icons of the 20th century, and her funeral in New York City drew some 22,000 mourners.

Frances Gumm was the daughter of former vaudevillians Frank Gumm and Ethel Gumm, who operated the New Grand Theatre in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, where on December 26, 1924, at age 2 1 /2 , Frances made her debut. In 1932—by that time a 10-year-old singing sensation—she received her first rave review from the entertainment news magazine Variety, and two years later, at the suggestion of the comedian George Jessel, she adopted the surname Garland. (She chose the first name Judy shortly thereafter, from the popular 1934 Hoagy Carmichael song of that name.) In September 1935, Judy Garland was signed by the world’s largest motion-picture studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), without a screen test.

Her first film appearance as a contract player for MGM was in the short Every Sunday (1936). Her other early films included Pigskin Parade (which she made while on loan to Twentieth Century-Fox in 1936) and Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937), in which she sang “You Made Me Love You.” That was the first of many trademark songs. She began her popular screen partnership with Mickey Rooney in Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry (1937) the pairing continued through Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938), Babes in Arms (1939), Strike Up the Band (1940), Babes on Broadway (1941), and Girl Crazy (1943).

Garland’s winning combination of youth, innocence, pluck, and emotional openness is seen to good advantage in two of her best-known films: The Wizard of Oz (1939) and Meet Me in St. Louis (1944). In the former, her heartfelt expression of vulnerability and youthful longing in what would become another signature song, “ Over the Rainbow,” helped make the film one of the most beloved movie classics. It also brought Garland her first and only Academy Award, a special award with a miniature statuette for “outstanding performance by a screen juvenile.” She played her last juvenile role in Meet Me in St. Louis, directed by her future husband Vincente Minnelli (with whom she had a daughter, Liza). In it she sang such hits as “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “The Boy Next Door.”

Of the 21 additional films she made in the 1940s, perhaps The Harvey Girls (1946) and Easter Parade (1948) are the best known. Despite placing in the Top Ten box office three times during the 1940s, making more than $100 million for the studio, and being considered the studio’s greatest asset, Garland was granted an early release from her MGM contract in September 1950, following completion of Summer Stock (1950). The following year she returned to the stage, with triumphant performances at the London Palladium and New York’s Palace Theatre. Her comeback was capped with the Warner Bros. musical A Star Is Born (1954), a three-hour showcase for all of Garland’s talents. It was in this film, the last of the three with which she is most associated, that Garland’s persona achieved maturity. Pitted against Dorothy Dandridge (Carmen Jones), Audrey Hepburn (Sabrina), Jane Wyman (Magnificent Obsession), and Grace Kelly (The Country Girl) for the best actress Oscar that year, Garland was favoured to win, but she lost to Grace Kelly in what comedian Groucho Marx (see Marx Brothers) called “the greatest robbery since Brinks” (a reference to the 1950 robbery of the Brinks Building in Boston, which was then the largest U.S. armed robbery).

Garland appeared in five more films, including Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), for which she garnered an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress, and the somewhat autobiographical I Could Go On Singing (1963), her only movie shot outside the United States.

Her film career has long overshadowed her success as a recording artist, but from 1936 to 1947 she cut more than 90 tracks for Decca Records, and she made a dozen record albums for Capitol Records between 1955 and 1965. She frequently made the best-seller charts from 1939 to 1967, working with such top arrangers as Mort Lindsey, Nelson Riddle, Jack Marshall, and Gordon Jenkins. These recordings reveal her sensitivity and intelligence as an interpreter of popular song.

After doctors told her in 1959 that decades of stress from overwork would prevent her from further performance, Garland staged her greatest comeback ever, with a 1960–61 series of one-woman concerts around the world, culminating in New York’s Carnegie Hall. The two-record recording of this concert, Judy at Carnegie Hall (1961), revealed her intense connection to her audiences and proved to be her biggest-selling album. It won five Grammy Awards—including album of the year and best female vocal performance—and spent about a year and a half on the charts, staying at number one for 13 weeks. The album has never gone out of print, and a Fortieth Anniversary Edition was issued on compact disc by Capitol Records in 2001. Further, in 2003 the album was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically” significant and placed on the National Recording Registry.

In the early 1960s Garland appeared often on television, hosting a weekly hour-long variety series, The Judy Garland Show, for 26 episodes during the 1963–64 season. Although she had been signed for a record amount of money, and the show revealed a concert artist at her peak, it was canceled after half a year.

During the mid- to late 1960s, Garland concentrated on concert performances and made appearances on the top television variety and talk shows of the day. A month-long third engagement at the Palace Theatre resulted in another popular album, At Home at the Palace (1967). Garland continued working until her death at age 47 by accidental barbiturate overdose. Her funeral in New York City drew 22,000 mourners.

Over the decades since her death and as the star of The Wizard of Oz, the movie seen by more people than any other in film history, Garland has remained an iconic American entertainer. Singer Frank Sinatra expressed the feelings of countless fans when he said, “She will have a mystic survival. She was the greatest. The rest of us will be forgotten, but never Judy.”


She became a child star with MGM, but her success largely robbed her of a childhood

Born Frances Ethel Gumm in Grand Rapids, Minn., in 1922, Garland came from a showbiz family. She was already performing by the age of four, and at 7 she joined the successful singing-and-dancing act her older sisters had cultivated &mdash all at the insistence of their mother, Ethel. The family moved to California in 1926 in search of greater fame for the Gumm sisters, who had, by this time, been reinvented as the Garlands.

It was at 13 that a young Judy would commit to a contract with MGM, one of the world’s biggest film studios. According to Hollywood legend, studio boss Louis B. Mayer signed her on the spot without a screen test. These early MGM days saw the beginning of Garland’s lifelong struggles with addiction, body image and mental health, largely fueled by the studio’s determination to mold her into a profitable box-office star. These difficult times are depicted in flashbacks in the movie in one, Judy is made to celebrate her 16th birthday two months early, because that’s the only time that will work with her schedule, and she’s not allowed to go anywhere near her cake.

Unlike other glamorous actors of the time, like Lana Turner, Garland was marketed as more of an “ugly duckling,” according to Petersen. Her on-screen storylines and frequent partnership with fellow teen actor Mickey Rooney would often reflect this status, with Garland’s girl-next-door character harboring some kind of unrequited crush on Rooney’s all-American boy. “She didn’t look like the rest of those MGM stars…she becomes this kind of avatar for the rejected, not sexy enough, not pretty enough person,” said Petersen on a 2014 episode of film historian Karina Longworth’s podcast You Must Remember This.

It was widely reported that MGM also used drugs to modulate young performers on set, as depicted in Judy, plying its young actors with “pep pills,” otherwise known as amphetamines, to power them through the exhausting demands of shooting schedules, as well as “downers,” or barbiturates, to force them to get enough sleep. The reliance on drugs, as well as the constant pressure and comments about Garland’s appearance (Louis B. Mayer reportedly nicknamed her “my little hunchback”), led to Garland’s unhealthy relationship with her weight.

In the film, she is photographed sharing a milkshake with Rooney, but she’s not allowed to eat the food on the table between them despite expressing her hunger. Indeed, tabloid gossip magazines reported at the time that studio minders at MGM, as well as Louis B. Mayer himself, insisted that she “reduce.” One widely-circulated anecdote tells of Garland attempting to order a normal lunch at the studio canteen, only to be brought a bowl of soup and a plate of lunch by staff. “My life was a combination of absolute chaos and absolute solitude,” Garland later said, reflecting on her unusual, and troubled, adolescence.

One biography of Garland also alleged that she was sexually harassed by Mayer, starting around the time when The Wizard of Oz was released, when Garland was 16. Using notes from a partial memoir written by Garland herself, former TIME writer Gerald Clarke writes in Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland that “between the ages of sixteen and twenty, Judy herself was to be approached for sex &mdash and approached again and again,” by Mayer himself and other studio executives.


A History of Addiction

The third daughter of vaudevillians Frank and Ethel Gumm, the woman who would become an icon was born Frances Ethel Gumm on June 10, 1922, in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. At the age of two and a half, she made her stage debut performing alongside her older sisters Mary Jane and Virginia as the Gumm Sisters.

Ethel, an aggressive and critical stage mother, was the first to give Garland pills&mdashboth to keep her energy up for the stage as well as to bring her down and sleep afterwards&mdashstarting as early as age ten, according to the biography Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland by Gerald Clarke.

It was a problem that worsened when Garland signed on as an actress with MGM in 1935. The actress later spoke about the breakneck pace at which she was expected to work&mdashshe starred in more than two dozen films for the studio&mdashand executives, including founder Louis B. Mayer, would have the actors medicated with both uppers and downers to maintain the schedule.

"They had us working days and nights on end. They&rsquod give us pills to keep us on our feet long after we were exhausted. Then they&rsquod take us to the studio hospital and knock us out with sleeping pills­&ndash[co-star Mickey Rooney] sprawled out on one bed and me on another," Garland said, according to Paul Donnelley's biography of the actress. "Then after four hours they&rsquod wake us up and give us the pep pills again so we could work 72 hours in a row. Half of the time we were hanging from the ceiling but it was a way of life for us."

(It is worth noting that Rooney denied that the actors were forcibly medicated by the studio.)


Liza Minnelli shades Renée Zellweger, won't see 'Judy' biopic about her mom

Onstage and on screen, Judy Garland boasted big, beautiful eyes and one of the most iconic singing voices in Hollywood history. She was Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” and Esther in “A Star Is Born,” the singer of “The Man That Got Away” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Behind the scenes, however, Garland was somewhere over the cuckoo’s nest.

The actress, who died from a drug overdose on June 22, 1969, at just 47 years old, is the subject of a new movie called “Judy,” which hits theaters Sept. 27. The film, starring Renée Zellweger, depicts Garland’s final weeks performing a series of acclaimed concerts in London. But years before her untimely demise, she was already drug-addicted, alcoholic, sex-obsessed and suicidal.

Stevie Phillips, who began as a secretary at the New York-based Freddie Fields Associates, worked her way up to become Garland’s manager from 1961 to 1964, accompanying the singer on her cross-country concert tours and witnessing all her bizarre behavior along the way.

There was the Caribbean vacation where a nearly naked Garland serenaded rowdy longshoremen in the Bahamas with “Over the Rainbow” from her hotel balcony. The time when she broke the mirror on her makeup compact and used the shards to slice up her face. And another time when she faked passing out in her house, only to angrily jump off the hospital gurney because the paramedics were too rough, screaming, “How dare you f–king morons handle me like a f–king side of beef!”

Toward the end of the tour, Garland generously brought her manager onstage to duet with her, then aggressively shoved her back into the wings when it turned out Phillips could carry a tune. Garland’s life was a roller coaster, and Phillips was screaming in the front car.

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'Judy' review: Renée Zellweger delivers gut-wrenching portrayal of Garland

“Although the concerts were always wonderful, what came before and after was not,” Phillips wrote in her 2015 memoir, “Judy & Liza & Robert & Freddie & David & Sue & Me” (St. Martin’s Press). “Sometimes it was plain awful, and a few times almost tragic.”

One disaster nearly ended fatally for both women.

Garland was performing a two-week stint at the Sahara hotel in Las Vegas in 1962 and although her celebrity had faded, the hotel nonetheless put her up in the glamorous penthouse suite.

After her regular 10 p.m. show, the buzzed star would either drag Phillips out for a night on the town that usually ended with steak and eggs at around 8 a.m. or she would keep her fatigued manager awake in the hotel room playing gin rummy until the “20 or 30 pills” she took over the course of an hour made her fall asleep.

One game night, as the drugged-up Garland retired to her bedroom, she took a few steps and abruptly passed out, falling face-first onto the corner of the glass coffee table.

The brutal tumble cut her lip the table went through her nostril, grazed her right eye and hit her forehead. As she lay there motionless, blood pooled at her head, soaking the carpet. Phillips was in shock and feared the worst.

“I bent over in a panic to see if she was breathing, way too scared to move or even to touch her,” she wrote. “Nevertheless, I tried to take her pulse. I was so scared. I could feel nothing. I had no idea if she was dead or alive.”

Terrified, she called the Sahara’s entertainment director, Stan Irwin, who was an expert in the destructive ways of addict performers. Irwin arrived fast with a doctor, who informed the two that Garland was merely sleeping, tranquilized to such an extent by the medications that the pain didn’t wake her up. He put her to bed and removed all the pills from the room.

A press release was drummed up chalking her upcoming stage absences up to “vocal strain,” and it was agreed that she’d add a week of 2:30 a.m. shows when she was recovered. All of this was decided while she was unconscious.

When Garland came to a few hours later, the Strip shook.

“Look at me!” she yelled at Phillips, who offered her some ice packs. “F–k the ice packs. Where’s my medicine? I need my pills, and I want them right now! Where the f–k did you hide them?”

Phillips insisted the doctor who treated Garland confiscated the pills, but the irate singer didn’t believe her. She walked into the kitchen, grabbed a large knife and lunged at her manager. “Would she have stabbed me? I don’t know,” Phillips wrote. “She was a raving lunatic at that point.”

Phillips, in her early 20s and spry, raced out of the suite and barricaded herself in her own hotel room, falling asleep for hours.

Later, she received a call from her boss, agent David Begelman, who happened to be having an affair with Garland. He told her that the singer was deeply sorry and that she wanted to call to apologize. Why the change of heart? Begelman had arranged for a doctor to re-up all of Garland’s discarded meds.

Her life having just been threatened, Phillips wanted to quit. But “an hour and a $200 raise later, I agreed to have a conversation,” she wrote.

When Garland wasn’t pointing a knife at her manager, she was harming herself to get attention.


Judy (2019)

The Judy true story confirms that she never had any resemblance of a normal childhood. As seen in the movie, Hollywood studios like MGM encouraged her to take appetite suppressants, uppers, and downers to keep her thin and working productively. Her first feature film was an MGM musical comedy called Pigskin Parade. After execs saw her onscreen, they told her she looked like a "fat little pig with pigtails." They took food away from her before she could eat it, monitored her daily intake, and repeatedly forced her to diet. While on the set of the 1938 film Broadway Melody, a Louis B. Mayer executive told her that she was so fat she looked like a monster. Mayer restricted her to a diet of chicken soup, cottage cheese, cigarettes, black coffee and appetite suppressants.

Does Renée Zellweger do her own singing in the movie?

Was Judy Garland's mother the first one to provide her with pills?

Yes. Judy's mother Ethel was a frustrated vaudeville performer who put her daughters on stage as early as possible. Judy joined her two older sisters, Mary Jane and Virginia, in the spotlight when she was just two-and-a-half years old, performing in a Christmas show on the stage at her father's movie theater. She continued performing alongside her sisters in vaudeville acts. According to Gerald Clarke's biography Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland, her mother started giving her pills for both energy and sleep when she was not even 10 years old. Years later, she would refer to her mother as "the real Wicked Witch of the West." As for her father, she regarded him highly, but he died in 1935 when she was just 13. With her father gone, she was in the hands of her tyrannical mother.

Was Judy Garland's father gay?

Yes. Frank Gumm's closeted homosexuality resulted in a dysfunctional marriage with Judy's mother, Ethel. He reportedly engaged in homosexual affairs with young men and older teens. When Ethel Gumm found out she was pregnant with Judy in 1921, Frank contacted friend Marcus Rabwin, a medical student, and inquired about terminating the pregnancy. It is believed that Ethel was upset over the revelations about her husband's infidelity. Rabwin told frank that it was an illegal procedure that could be dangerous to Ethel. He urged the couple to have the baby. Judy Garland was born Frances Ethel Gumm on June 10, 1922 in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. -Biography

Was MGM head Louis B. Mayer really a sinister figure in Judy Garland's life?

Yes. The Judy movie true story reveals that Mayer forbid Garland from putting on weight. He pressured her to stay beautiful and got her the pills he thought she needed to remain that way. In one scene in the film, Garland is forbidden from eating cake on her 16th birthday. While filming, the studio would put her in an extremely tight corset to further slim her figure. As she developed more, they also strapped down her breasts to maintain a youthful appearance.

In the late 1990s, Garland biographer Gerald Clarke discovered 68 pages of an unpublished autobiography Judy Garland had been working on. In those pages, Garland states that MGM co-founder Louis B. Mayer groped and harassed her repeatedly. She said that when Mayer would compliment her on her voice, he would place his hand on her left breast and tell her she sang from the heart. "I often thought I was lucky," Garland recalled, "that I didn't sing with another part of my anatomy." When she became an adult she mustered enough strength to put a stop to it, telling him, "Mr. Mayer, don't you ever, ever do that again. I just will not stand for it."

Mayer wasn't the only executive who acted vile toward Garland. She recalled another executive, who she doesn't name, as calling her into his office and demanding that she have sex with him. She refused. "I'll ruin you and I can do it," he told her. "I'll break you if it's the last thing I do."

Did Judy Garland try to commit suicide when she was fired from MGM?

Yes. After making approximately 30 films with MGM, they fired her from Annie Get Your Gun in 1949 for failing to show up for work, mostly due to exhaustion, depression, addiction (to prescription drugs), and being in the midst of a messy divorce from director Vincente Minnelli. She was devastated, even more so when Betty Hutton was cast to replace her in the role she had already worked on for two months, including recording all the songs for the musical's soundtrack.

She rehabilitated herself during a lengthy hospital stay in Boston and returned to work for MGM, filming 1950's Summer Stock opposite Gene Kelly. She was then cast in the movie Royal Wedding with Fred Astaire, but by that point she had slid back into her addictive ways and once again failed to show up for work. MGM suspended her contract and she was replaced by Jane Powell. Distraught, Judy attempted suicide by grazing her throat with a broken water glass (reports at the time sensationalized the incident by stating she "slashed" her throat). The wound required only a band-aid. It wasn't her first suicide attempt. She had previously used broken glass to inflict minor cuts to her wrist in 1947 after suffering a nervous breakdown.

"I went to pieces," she later said of being fired from MGM. "All I wanted to do was eat and hide. I lost all my self-confidence for 10 years. I suffered agonies of stage fright. People had to literally push me onto the stage."

Did Judy Garland's third husband win custody of their two children?

Yes. As seen early in the film, the Judy true story verifies that she was involved in a hostile public custody battle for her two youngest children, Lorna and Joey Luft. Like in the movie, she lost custody to ex-husband Sidney Luft.

Is the Judy movie based on a book?

No. While Lorna Luft's family memoir Me and My Shadows inspired the 2001 ABC miniseries Life with Judy Garland, it did not inspire the 2019 Renée Zellweger movie. The film is based on playwright Peter Quilter's 2005 musical stage production End of the Rainbow, which played London's West End and ended up on Broadway.

Did Judy Garland meet husband Mickey Deans when he was delivering her a package of pills?

Yes, as strange as it sounds, this lines up with the Judy movie true story, at least according to what Deans said in his book about Garland, which was titled Weep No More, My Lady. He said that a friend asked him to deliver a package of prescription stimulant tablets to Garland's hotel room. He remembers her as being friendly but out of sorts. He claims that he lied and introduced himself as a doctor because her two youngest children were there. They dated off and on for three years before Deans, who was 12 years her junior, proposed. They married on March 15, 1969, roughly three months before her death.

How many husbands did Judy Garland have?

Was Judy Garland broke toward the end of her life?

Yes. As emphasized in the film, Garland had personal debts and debts to the IRS that totaled around $500,000. At the time of her death, her estate was worth approximately $40,000, which equates to over $270,000 in 2019. Her daughter, Liza Minnelli, worked to pay off her debts. Frank Sinatra, who was a friend of the family, also helped.

Did Judy Garland go to London to perform because it was the only paying gig she could find?

Yes. The sold out performances took place in the winter of 1968 at The Talk of the Town nightclub in London.

Did a drug-addled Judy Garland often walk off stage when she was unable to sing?

Yes. If the people associated with her could actually get her on stage to sing, she often failed to make it through the performance and would walk off. -TheWrap

Did British audiences really throw bread rolls at Judy Garland when they were unhappy with her performance?

Yes. Garland's drinking and pill popping often led to her showing up late or singing out of tune during her sold-old performances. On one occasion in 1969 at London's cabaret club The Talk of the Town, she kept the audience waiting for over an hour. This led to ridicule from both critics and the audience, with some going so far as to throw bread, rolls and glasses at her. -Los Angeles Times

Are the two gay fans who Garland becomes friends with based on real people?

Did the audience at the supper club really stand to help Judy complete the song?

No. We found no evidence that the audience at the supper club stood to help her complete Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

Did Judy Garland commit suicide?

It is believed that Judy Garland's death was accidental and the result of "an incautious self-overdosage" of barbiturates, as Coroner Gavin Thurston stated at the inquest. He emphasized that there was no evidence of suicide and that the overdose was not deliberate. This was supported by her autopsy, which revealed no traces of drugs left in her stomach and no inflammation of her stomach lining. This indicated that she ingested the drugs over a long period of time, as opposed to downing them all at once. Further supporting this was the number of barbiturate pills that still remained in the bottles next to her bed. Judy Garland's death certificate lists her official cause of death as "accidental." She passed away just 12 days after turning 47.

Her body was discovered in the bathroom of her rented London home by husband Mickey Deans on the morning of June 22, 1969. Many obituaries at the time described her as being found on the bathroom floor. However, according to Deans, he found her sitting on the toilet.

Does Judy Garland's oldest daughter, Liza Minnelli, approve of the film?

No. Minnelli wrote on her official Facebook page, "I do not approve nor sanction the upcoming film about Judy Garland in any way." While writing the screenplay for Judy, Tom Edge (The Crown) did not reach out to any of Garland's three children. In addition, actress Renée Zellweger did not speak to the family, though she did unsuccessfully attempt to connect with Minnelli by way of a mutual friend. -Los Angeles Times

Watch Barbara Walters interview Judy Garland in 1969. Then view the movie trailer for the 2019 film starring Renée Zellweger.


Queens would come to a Judy Garland concert and then scream at her when she was too drunk to finish it – Dr Michael Bronski

Elements of Garland’s story can be found in that of Diana, Princess of Wales, and her mistreatment at the hands of the press Princess Margaret, with her ongoing substance issues, and marriage to an exploitative man who was rumoured to be gay and Britney Spears, whose child stardom culminated in a very public divorce and mental health struggles. From Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston and Kesha, to Lily Allen, Demi Lovato and Garland’s own daughter Liza Minnelli, women continue to be exploited, damaged and, in the worst cases, destroyed by fame.

Gay men need to be mindful of our own culpability in this cycle. ‘Friend of Dorothy’ has long been a popular code word for gay men, but not all friends of Dorothy were friends of Judy. As Dr Michael Bronski, a Harvard University professor and the author of books on queer history and gay culture, asserts in a recent article on the dark side of “stan” (superfan) culture: "There is a long history of gay male fan culture latching onto famous women and then turning on them. Queens would come to a Judy Garland concert and then scream at her when she was too drunk to finish it. The women have changed – it's no longer Marlene Dietrich and Judy Garland. But the dynamic remains in Western culture.”

Bronski is right: that pattern didn’t end with Garland’s death. Whether it’s Katy Perry becoming, as journalist Brian O’Flynn writes, “gay Twitter’s punching bag”, or gay fans dressing as ‘bald Britney’ for Halloween and turning up to meet-and-greets dressed in costume from Spears’s infamous 2007 breakdown, gay men can be increasingly fickle towards famous women.

As a former child sat who has endured mental health struggles, Britney Spears is one of many female celebrities whose experiences recall Garland’s (Credit: Alamy)

Idolising these women is one thing, but we shouldn’t treat them like playthings for our entertainment. The personal troubles of women like Winona Ryder, Amanda Bynes or Naomi Campbell might generate funny punchlines, but they’re also real-life problems. When push comes to shove, are gay men really there for the women we claim to worship?

On screen too, there are several works in the gay pop-cultural canon that glorify destructive female behaviour – while being financed and created by men. Mommie Dearest, a biopic of screen icon Joan Crawford, which portrays her as an abusive mother, is a gay classic. And from the streets of Wisteria Lane to Big Little Lies and the Real Housewives franchise, pop-culture encourages us to love female characters when they’re screaming hysterically, so we can condense their pain into hilariously camp GIFs and say “yassss kween” as they smash up their surroundings.

Camp is a huge part of what draws gay men towards women like Garland. There is camp to be found in her tragedy, her successes and her bad behaviour. But some, such as gay author Andrew Britton have argued that the existence of camp actually depends on the restrictive gender dynamics that it claims to oppose. Much has been written about the suppressive effect of the “male gaze” on women, but surely the “gay gaze” is also to blame.

Fifty years after Garland’s death, her legacy lives on. Many gay men turn to women like Judy Garland to help them navigate their own experiences of the world. But we should also reflect on the way we treat them. Because if we don’t commit to treating the icons who we love with compassion, or creating the “kinder, gentler world” Garland once said she longed for, then are we much better than the people who tried to break her?

Judy is released in the US and Canada on 27 September and in the UK and Ireland on 4 October

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July 1948

Thrilled by the huge box-office receipts of Easter Parade, MGM immediately teamed Garland and Astaire in The Barkleys of Broadway. During the initial filming, Garland was taking prescription barbiturate sleeping pills along with illicitly obtained pills containing morphine. Around this time, she also developed a serious problem with alcohol. These, in combination with migraine headaches, led her to miss several shooting days in a row. After being advised by her 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 her on 18 July 1948. She was replaced in the film by Ginger Rogers. When her suspension was over, she was summoned back to work and ultimately performed two songs as a guest in the Rodgers and Hart biopic Words and Music (1948), which was her last appearance with Mickey Rooney. Despite the all-star cast, Words and Music barely broke even at the box office. Having regained her strength, as well as some needed weight during her suspension, Garland felt much better and in the fall of 1948, she returned to MGM to replace a pregnant June Allyson for the musical film In the Good Old Summertime (1949) co-starring Van Johnson. Although she was sometimes late arriving at the studio during the making of this picture, she managed to complete it five days ahead of schedule. Her daughter Liza made her film debut at the age of two and a half at the end of the film. In The Good Old Summertime was enormously successful at the box office.


  • Judy Garland's young personal assistant said she was 'revolted' by the star
  • Stevie Phillips, then in her 20s, describes how she was groped in a limousine
  • In her memoir she recounts how Garland smiled at her while slitting her wrist
  • Garland died of a prescription drugs overdose in London in 1969. She was 47

Published: 13:10 BST, 12 September 2019 | Updated: 09:20 BST, 13 September 2019

Judy Garland was so sex-obsessed in the later years of her life, her young personal assistant said the star once grabbed hold of her privates in the back of a limousine.

The actress, subject of a new biopic starring Renee Zellweger, was into her fifth marriage, broke and addicted to pills when she was found dead from a barbiturates overdose in London in 1969. She was just 47.

Her personal assistant, Stevie Phillips, said she grew to resent Garland, who she says once attacked her with a knife and on another occasion, smiled at her while slitting her wrist hours before a concert.

During one of their many car rides back to a hotel or an airport, which Phillips said were usually, 'too tedious to endure,' Garland began groping the 20-something's privates.

American singer and actress, Judy Garland pictured wearing a pink dressing gown and sitting in her dressing room backstage surrounded by bouquets of flowers after the opening night of her headlining show at the Palace Theatre in New York on 31st July 1968

Stevie Phillips (left) with Liza Minnelli, daughter of Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli, an American stage and film director

'Her hand began a trip from my knee, where she had placed it when the car lurched, to my crotch,' she said. 'Her move wasn't inadvertent. Judy did nothing inadvertently.'

Philips described in a 2015 memoir: 'The idea of being intimate with Judy revolted me. I wanted to reject her. And it wasn't just because she was a woman, although a relationship with another woman did not interest me. It was because I didn't like her.'

But she was paralysed with fear, wondering if she might lose her job if she offended Garland. She said she eventually summoned the courage to lift Garland's hand back onto her own lap with a smile.

Garland's sexual aggression is recounted in a 1963 brawl at the Savoy, where she attacked a woman with whose husband she was carrying out an affair.

Phillips could only watch in astonishment as the women 'tried to kill each other,' kicking, scratching, tearing clothes and hair from each other.

'Both were bleeding,' the personal assistant said, 'gowns torn. almost naked in the fifth-floor corridor.'

Phillips believed she should have been hospitalised but that people were too intent on making money from her (pictured: Judy Garland in her younger years)


Somewhere Over Their Rainbows - Deanna Durbin and Judy Garland

Bruce Chadwick lectures on history and film at Rutgers University in New Jersey. He also teaches writing at New Jersey City University. He holds his PhD from Rutgers and was a former editor for the New York Daily News. Mr. Chadwick can be reached at [email protected]

Do you remember actress Deanna Durbin? If so, you are one of the few.

How about Judy Garland? Well, of course you do - Dorothy from Oz.

In the late 1930s and 1940s, Deanna and Judy, just teenagers, were two of the biggest stars in Hollywood. Deanna was not only a superb actress, but as a singer had the voice of an angel. Judy had, well, Judy had it all.

Judy stayed in Hollywood, led a tragic life and died of a drug overdose at 47. Deanna fled the bright lights and cameras at age 29, stunning the world, moved to a farm house in France, became a recluse and never appeared in another film. Over the next 62 years, she only gave one single media interview. Two careers, two lives and two distinctly different stories.

Actress/singer Melanie Gall has merged the two stories into one, Ingenue: Deanna Durbin and Judy Garland, and the Golden Age of Hollywood. The one woman play just opened at the Soho Playhouse, on Van Dam Street, in New York. Gall, who also wrote the drama, has done a fine job. It is an eye opener of a tale and an absolute treasure chest of show business history. Gall plays Deanna and brings in the story of Judy in an interview with an invisible New York Times reporter. It is Deanna&rsquos story, not Judy&rsquos, and she sings Deanna&rsquos music and not Judy&rsquos (except for Somewhere Over the Rainbow).

I knew a little bit about Durbin, the Canadian born singer who rocketed to fame by the age of 15, but not much. Nobody knows very much about her. When Durbin fled Hollywood, she not only never appeared as an entertainer again but pulled the plug on most of her American movies and you can hardly see them any more (ironically, a Durbin movie and Garland film were playing at the same time on television last week).

The legend was that the two, who starred in a movie together in 1936, were lifelong bitter rivals, but really, they were not. There may have been some jealousy between them, but I doubt they were enemies. Gall, in her story, suggests that latter version, and points out that Garland thought Durbin was shortsighted in leaving the movies and wished she had remained.

Gall tells a fascinating and colorful story. Durbin came to Hollywood as kid, like so many others, but had a great voice and won a $100 a week contract with MGM. There, she met Garland and the two became close friends. Movie mogul L.B. Mayer did not think he needed two child stars, so he fired Durbin (the play suggests that might have been accidental and he may have wanted to boot Garland), Durbin, at her new studio, Universal, became famous right away and her first few pictures were so successful that they saved the studio (Deanna starred in 21 movies in her storied career). Judy caught fire with The Wizard of Oz and became immortal. The rumor was that MGM wanted Deanna for the role of Dorothy in Oz and that she auditioned for it, but refused it because Judy wanted it

Gall tells the audience that Durbin was probably a better singer, but Judy had more hits. However, film historians seem to agree that in that era Durbin was one of the most beloved actresses in the world. In 1947, she was not only the highest paid actress in Hollywood but the highest paid woman in America. That year her fan club was the biggest on earth. American GIs in World War II even named a bomber after her. The Metropolitan Opera was even after her to join its company. Deanna was also Winston Churchill&rsquos favorite actress.

So why did Durbin become a recluse? Gall says she was tired of Hollywood, found fame tedious and wanted to live a normal life. That can&rsquot be all of it, though. Others say she hated the studio system of dictatorial control of a performer&rsquos life and thought her life was over at 29, as it was for many actresses, and hated never being cast in very serious roles (the directors always had her singing something somewhere in the script).

Gall is quite good playing Durbin and she is a superb singer. The problem with the play is that It is a play abut Durbin and Garland without Garland. It would be much better as a two-character play and it should be a bit longer (it&rsquos just a little over an hour). Gall carries the play well, but you really need a richer story and more nuance about Judy&rsquos life.

Also, nowhere in the play is any reference to Ray Bradbury&rsquos The Anthem Sprintersa delightful short story about a Deanna Durbin movie screened in Ireland followed by a race of moviegoers to a pub before the cinema starts to play the Irish national anthem at the conclusion of the film.

The story needs a far better explanation of why Durbin fled Hollywood. What did her friends say? Show biz buddies? Neighbors? Family? How did her rather wild personal life (three marriages and two out of wedlock pregnancies) affect her?

She is far better known today in the United Kingdom and Europe that in the U.S. because the actress never cut off her films there. In fact, there is still a &lsquoDeanna Devotees&rsquo fan club in England.

The best part of the play, for me, was the question and answer session at the end. Gall is an authority on both women and researched their lives thoroughly. She really illuminated their lives by just answering audience questions. It was there, in that Q and A session, that she dropped her bombshell. It seems that back in the early 1950s, when Durbin had been retired for a few years, that the writers of the still untested MyFair Lady went to see her to convince her to play Eliza Doolittle. She flat out refused. That role, of course, would have made her famous all over again, an international superstar, a brilliant comet racing across the show business sky.

The strength of the play is its show biz history. You get a wonderful education in how the old movie studio system worked, how child actors were educated at special studio schools how stars had homes built for them right on the film sets. Impressive money could be made, too. The play should be subtitled Show Biz History 101.

If you ever notice that one of Deanna Durbin&rsquos movies is on television, a rarity, catch it. This girl could sing!


Watch the video: JUDY GARLAND sings BY MYSELF and receives a standing ovation 1964