Nationality: American. Born: Frances Ethel Gumm in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, 10 June 1922. Education: Attended elementary school in Los Angeles; Lawler's Professional School, 1929–31; Bancroft Junior High School and University High School, Los Angeles. Family: Married 1) the musician David Rose, 1941 (divorced 1942); 2) the director Vincente Minnelli, 1945 (divorced 1952), daughter: the actress Liza Minnelli; 3) the producer Sid Luft, 1952 (divorced 1965), daughter: the singer Lorna Luft; 4) Mark Herron, 1965 (divorced 1969); 5) Mickey Deans. Career: 1929—film debut as a child singer, with her sisters, as The Gumm Sisters, in the Meglin Kiddie Revue; also toured with the act, later called The Garland Sisters; 1935—contract with MGM; followed by a series of musical films; 1938—roles in the Andy Hardy series and in The Wizard of Oz brought her wide popularity; also acted and sang on radio, and made recordings; 1945—straight dramatic role in The Clock; 1950—health problems led to MGM not renewing her contract; 1951—great success in cabaret performances at the London Palladium and the Palace Theatre in New York; later film successes in A Star Is Born, 1954, and Judgment at Nuremberg, 1961; also continued touring in cabaret and recording; 1963–64—star of The Judy Garland Show on television. Awards: Special Academy Award, "for her outstanding performance as a screen juvenile during the past year," 1939. Died: In London, England, 22 June 1969.
Films as Actress:
The Meglin Kiddie Revue (one of the Gumm sisters)
A Holiday in Storyland (one of the Gumm sisters); The Wedding of Jack and Jill (one of the Gumm sisters)
La fiesta de Santa Barbara (one of the Gumm sisters); Pigskin Parade (The Harmony Parade) (David Butler) (as Sairy Dodd); Every Sunday (Feist—short)
Broadway Melody of 1938 (Del Ruth) (as Betty Clayton); Thoroughbreds Don't Cry (Alfred E. Green) (as Cricket West)
Everybody Sing (Marin) (as Judy Bellaire); Love Finds Andy Hardy (Seitz) (as Betsy Booth); Listen, Darling (Marin) (as Pinkie Wingate)
The Wizard of Oz (Fleming) (as Dorothy Gale); Babes in Arms (Berkeley) (as Patsy Barton)
Andy Hardy Meets Debutante (Seitz) (as Betsy Booth); Strike Up the Band (Berkeley) (as Mary Holden); Little Nellie Kelly (Taurog) (title role)
Ziegfeld Girl (Leonard) (as Susan Gallagher); Life Begins for Andy Hardy (Seitz) (as Betsy); We Must Have Music (short—unused sequence from Leonard's Ziegfeld Girl, part of series A Romance of Celluloid); Babes on Broadway (Berkeley) (as Penny Morris)
For Me and My Gal (Berkeley) (as Jo Hayden)
Presenting Lily Mars (Taurog) (title role); Girl Crazy (Taurog) (as Ginger Gray); Thousands Cheer (Sidney) (as guest)
Meet Me in St. Louis (Minnelli) (as Esther Smith)
The Clock (Under the Clock) (Minnelli) (as Alice Mayberry)
The Harvey Girls (Sidney) (as Susan Bradley); Ziegfeld Follies (Minnelli); Till the Clouds Roll By (Whorf; Garland sequences directed by Minnelli) (as Marilyn Miller)
The Pirate (Minnelli) (as Manuela); Easter Parade (Walters) (as Hannah Brown); Words and Music (Taurog) (as guest)
In the Good Old Summertime (Leonard) (as Veronica Fisher)
Summer Stock (If You Feel Like Singing) (Walters) (as Jane Falbury)
A Star Is Born (Cukor) (as Esther Blodgett/Vicki Lester)
Pepe (Sidney) (as voice)
Judgment at Nuremberg (Kramer) (as Irene Hoffman)
Gay Purr-ee (Levitow—animation) (as voice of Mewsette)
A Child Is Waiting (Cassavetes) (as Jean Hansen); I Could Go on Singing (Neame) (as Jenny Bowman)
On GARLAND: books—
Zierold, Norman, The Child Stars, New York, 1965.
Morella, Joe, and Edward Epstein, Judy: The Films and Career of Judy Garland, New York, 1969.
Steiger, Brad, Judy Garland, New York, 1969.
Tormé, Mel, The Other Side of the Rainbow with Judy Garland on the Dawn Patrol, New York, 1970.
Deans, Mickey, and Ann Pinchot, Weep No More My Lady, New York, 1972.
Melton, David, Judy: A Remembrance, Hollywood, 1972.
Di Orio, Al Jr., Little Girl Lost—The Life and Hard Times of Judy Garland, New Rochelle, New York, 1973.
Juneau, James, Judy Garland, New York, 1974.
Minnelli, Vincente, with Hector Arce, I Remember It Well, New York, 1974.
Edwards, Anne, Judy Garland: A Biography, New York, 1975.
Finch, Christopher, Rainbow: The Stormy Life of Judy Garland, New York, 1975.
Frank, Gerald, Judy, New York, 1975.
Smith, Lorna, Judy, with Love: The Story of Miss Show Business, London, 1975.
Baxter, Brian, The Films of Judy Garland, Farncombe, Surrey, 1977.
Glickmann, Serge, Judy Garland, Paris, 1981.
Kepler, M., Judy Garland, Paris, 1981.
Spada, James, with Karen Swenson, Judy and Liza, London, 1983.
Dyer, Richard, Heavenly Bodies: Film Stars and Society, London, 1987.
Csengery, Judit, Judy es Liza, Budapest, 1988.
Harmitz, Aljean, The Making of The Wizard of Oz, London, 1989.
Haver, Ronald, A Star Is Born: The Making of the 1954 Movie and Its 1983 Restoration, London, 1989.
Coleman, Emily R., The Complete Judy Garland, New York, 1990.
Fricke, John, Judy Garland: World's Greatest Entertainer, New York, 1992.
Shipman, David, Judy Garland: The Secret Life of an American Legend, New York, 1993.
On GARLAND: articles—
St. Johns, Adela Rogers, "His Engagement to Judy Garland," in Photoplay (New York), April 1945.
"Star Turn: Judy Garland," in Sight and Sound (London), June 1951.
Current Biography 1952, New York, 1952.
Rosterman, Robert, "Judy Garland," in Films in Review (New York), April 1952.
McVay, Douglas, "Judy Garland," in Films and Filming (London), October 1961.
Obituary in New York Times, 24 June 1969.
Pérez, M., "Judy Garland," in Positif (Paris), November/December 1972.
Jennings, W., "Nova: Garland in A Star Is Born," in Quarterly Review of Film Studies (Pleasantville, New York), no. 3, 1979.
Crist, Judith, "Judy Garland," in The Movie Star, edited by Elisabeth Weis, New York, 1981.
Mordden, Ethan, "I Got a Song," in New Yorker, 22 October 1990.
Clarke, Gerald, "Judy Garland: The Wizard of Oz Star in Bel-Air," in Architectural Digest (Los Angeles), April 1992.
Stars (Mariembourg), Winter 1993.
Norman, Barry, "Darkness Over the Rainbow for Dorothy," in Radio Times (London), 27 September 1997.
* * *
In his book Heavenly Bodies: Film Stars and Society, Richard Dyer offers both an insightful discussion of Judy Garland's star image and an in-depth account of why gay men were so strongly attracted to Garland and particularly her post-1950 image. Yet, as Dyer points out, Garland's image and persona are open to other readings since her appeal was not limited to a subculture and Garland had mass appeal that embraced devoted female fans. Since Garland's death, well-researched books such as Judy Garland: The Secret Life of an American Legend have come out of the closet about Garland's bisexuality; how much light these revelations shed on her genius is open to question. Certainly, Garland toyed with sexual ambiguity throughout her career—the tramp number from Easter Parade, the newsboy number "Lose that Long Face" and boyish run-through of "Somewhere There's a Someone" in A Star Is Born, and the tuxedoed finale of Summer Stock which was resurrected for her concert appearances. What revisionist critics cannot lose sight of is that whether Garland was trucking down the Yellow Brick Road or looking for the Man that Got Away, her appeal was universal.
In his discussion of Garland's image, Dyer emphasizes the change that occurs in the perception of her image after 1950, the year in which she was fired by MGM and allegedly attempted suicide. If the MGM studio image celebrating her girl-next-doorness contrasts strongly with her post-1950s image as androgynous camp avatar, the one constant in Garland's persona is an overwhelming psychological need for affection that audiences always wanted to fill. Summer Stock, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Clock, and The Pirate draw strength from scenes in which vulnerable Judy becomes very emotional, frequently in response to a man's assertion of dominance. In many of her MGM films, Garland is on the brink of womanhood but nevertheless acts in a refreshingly direct and immediate manner; while her outbursts suggest the childlike, it challenges her co-stars to consider a greater equality of the sexes. In a complex manner, Garland plays off aspects of what are deemed feminine characteristics, but contrary to expectations, her transparent honesty does not make her appear helpless nor does it resort to a masculinizing of her image or a denial of heterosexual desire. Perhaps in the heady intensity of the movie musical, Garland did not have to play games. But unlike other American sweethearts such as Durbin, Allyson, and Powell, Garland grew into a heart-on-her-sleeve star with a persona more complex than the peaches-and-cream MGM image could support.
As Dyer says: "Garland works in an emotional register of great intensity which seems to bespeak equally suffering and survival, vulnerability and strength, theatricality and authenticity, passion and irony." Although these components emerge most forcefully in A Star Is Born, it is arguably Garland's emotional complexity that always distinguishes her work from that of more conventional musical comedy performers—in a standard backstage musical such as Summer Stock, Garland brings a raw dramatic depth to aspects of her characterization which threatens to unbalance the movie and take it in another generic direction, toward melodrama. In the later stages of her career, she blurred the division between personal and professional identity, which led to criticism regarding her willingness to exploit herself and her audience. Yet, Garland's insistence on being intimately emotional in public had a liberating effect on spectators, as occurs at times with melodramas and the experience they offer. Each Garland concert became a soap opera in song.
What else but the burned-out attitudes of the 1990s could explain why this dynamic entertainer has yet to be rediscovered after her death; in a climate where audiences seem determined to feel nothing but superficial sensation, she has not become an icon like the flashier but infinitely less talented Monroe, Dean, or Presley, three Hollywood legends whose victimhoods are both more accessible and less resonant than Garland's. Perhaps this greatest talent of the twentieth century will undergo a slow renaissance in the pop culture even as she remains the poster girl of the gay cognoscenti. Enjoying videos of her television show (which CBS foolishly slotted opposite Bonanza), one is struck with the notion of Judy as a variety show subversive, way too supercharged and neurotic for the nation's living rooms unless they contained a therapist's couch. Moviegoers who bristled at Garland's wholesomeness at MGM respond to this latter-day show biz martyr who offers the audience the challenge of measuring up to her own life of pain.
It is that tremulous quality of radiant endurance which informs Garland's last three film appearances. After winning an Oscar nomination as one of the all-star Nazi survivors in Judgment at Nuremberg, she gave a full-bodied performance as a fledgling teacher of the mentally retarded in the unfairly ignored A Child Is Waiting, which illustrates the delicate balance of internal and external forces in Garland's persona. Laced with telling dialogue she wrote herself, I Could Go on Singing is a proper cinematic swansong in that Garland sings, dances, and acts a fan magazine version of her own trouble-plagued, the show-must-go-on-to-pay-the-bills lifestyle. Socking across paeans to survivability, Garland sings her heart out as if tapping into the frustrated longing of every audience member in thrall to her. Fearfully locking herself in her dressing room, she panicked her way out of Valley of the Dolls and a monster role unsuited to her trademark sensitivity. Of course, one wishes there had been one more on-screen comeback before the final disintegration of the Garland rainbow. As Garland entered her last phase of entertaining, the personal and the professional were increasingly conflated in the realm of keeping alive the myth of the Little Girl Lost; she pumped up her concert crowds on a high of snappy-pattered Hollywood horror stories and a frozen repertoire of torch songs functioning as mini-biographies. A performance artist before that term was coined, Garland may have sustained her career by taking advantage of her audiences' ongoing desire to fly with her over the rainbow while their own lives seemed mundanely stuck in the mud. No other singer enjoyed this sort of transcendent transference with devotees. Fittingly, she died in the midst of a concert tour—and what other performer can claim to have sung in a voice which millions felt was a dubbed-in expression of their own inner torment.
In recent years, there has been a concentration of critical writing on stars who defiantly challenged gender dictates (Dietrich, Davis, Hepburn, and others), but their accomplishments should not be lionized at the expense of the irreplaceable Garland whose image as star was highly complicated and deserving of recognition as such.
—Richard Lippe, updated by Robert Pardi
"Garland, Judy." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 18, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/movies/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/garland-judy
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For more than three decades singer-actress Judy Garland claimed the hearts of audiences worldwide. She was the leading star of Hollywood musicals during their heyday in the late thirties and forties, playing wholesome, small-town girls loaded with big-time musical talent. Her rich, powerful voice and dynamic delivery celebrated mainstream American pop at a time when musicals still reflected either the eccentricities of vaudeville, or the conventions of opera and legitimate theater; she made American pop music acceptable, leading it to swing and later, to the mellow harmonies that dominated after World War II. When her movie career waned in the 1950s, Garland became a premier concert performer, renowned for her rapport with an audience. The love of music and desire to please so evident in her screen portrayals became almost palpable on stage, and she inspired a devotion at home and abroad that occasionally assumed the dimensions of a cult.
Garland’s failed marriages, her suicide attempts, and her battles with her weight, alcohol, and pills only enhanced her vulnerability and appeal; The Best of the Music Makers cited performer Jerry Lewis as commenting that Garland “communicates for the audience. All the things people can’t say for themselves. All the stout women identify with her, the losers in love identify … the insomniacs, the alcoholics and pill takers.” Writing in the New Yorker, Ethan Mordden observed that Garland’s “extraordinary singing style [was] so individual yet so uneccentric,” allowing her to perform cabaret jazz, show tunes, or love ballads with equal mastery. “She made each song hers without taking anything away from the song,” he decided. “Garland is … strangely familiar, permanently contemporary.”
Garland was born Frances Gumm, the third daughter of vaudeville actors. At the age of two she toddled on to the stage of the Minnesota theater her father owned to sing “Jingle Bells,” and was so taken with performing that she had to be forcibly removed. Following relocation to Los Angeles, Frances and her sisters formed a singing-dancing trio, The Gumm Sisters, with their mother accompanying them on the piano. The girls became the principal support of their family as their father’s health declined, performing in vaudeville theaters around the country. After being mistakenly billed as “The Glumm Sisters” at one stop, they changed their name to “The Three Garlands” (and Frances became Judy); the youngest Garland emerged as the star of the act—“the little girl with the great big voice.” When a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) agent heard Judy sing he signed her to a seven-year contract on the spot, recognizing in the untrained thirteen-year-old a wealth of natural talent.
Born Frances Ethel Gumm, June 10, 1922, in Grand Rapids, MN; died January 22, 1969, in London, England; daughter of Frank Avent (a vaudeville performer and movie theater owner) and Ethel Marian (a vaudeville performer and act manager; maiden name, Milne) Gumm; married David Rose (a composer), July 8, 1941 (divorced c. 1942); married Vincent Minelli (a film director), June 15, 1945 (divorced, 1951); married M. S. (Sid) Luft (a film producer), June, 1952 (divorced, 1963); married fifth husband, Mickey Deans; children: (second marriage) Liza Minelli; (third marriage) Lorna Luft, Joseph Luft. Education: Attended Lawler’s Professional School in Los Angeles, CA. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) studio school.
Made singing debut at father’s Grand Rapids, MN, theater, 1925; family moved to Los Angeles, 1927; toured U.S. as member of singing-dancing act The Gumm Sisters (later became The Three Garlands), 1927-35; film performer, 1935-63, beginning with MGM, 1935-50; radio performer, beginning in 1936; recording artist, beginning in late 1930s; international concert performer, 1951-69; television performer, beginning in mid-1950s, including weekly television series The Judy Garland Show, 1963-64.
Motion picture performances include Every Sunday Afternoon, 1935, Broadway Melody, 1938, Love Finds Andy Hardy, 1938, The Wizard of Oz, 1939, For Me and My Gal, 1942, Meet Me in St. Louis, 1944, Ziegfeld Follies, 1944, The Harvey Girls, 1946, Easter Parade, 1948, A Star Is Born, 1954, and I Could Go on Singing, 1963.
Awards: Special Academy Award, 1940, for The Wizard of Oz.
By her fourth film for MGM Garland had emerged as a juvenile singing star, drawing notice with her memorable rendition of “Dear Mr. Gable” in the 1938 Broadway Melody. The following year she landed the plum role of Dorothy in the musical fantasy The Wizard of Oz —through which she became a virtual American pop-culture icon—singing “Over the Rainbow,” her remarkable performance earning her a special Academy Award. For the next decade she made more than twenty films, including the “Andy Hardy” and “Babes” series with Mickey Rooney and musical classics like Meet Me in St. Louis, The Harvey Girls, and Easter Parade, also introducing such popular standards as “The Trolley Song” and “The Atchison, Topeka and the Sante Fe.” Her fresh appeal and musical energy made her an audience favorite, belying the troubling tenor of her life offscreen. In a studio system that perceived her as property, Garland was always told what to do, who to see, and how to look; from the beginning she was fed amphetamines to combat her natural chubbiness and barbiturates to bring rest. Hooked on pills and alcohol, exhausted by her unrelenting work schedule, and tormented by insecurity and fears, Garland began to crack by the late 1940s.
In 1948 Garland delayed the production schedules of several films, showing up late, unprepared, and unwilling; she eventually suffered a nervous breakdown. By 1950, MGM had released her two years early from her $5,000-a-week contract—the dismissal prompting one of the star’s numerous suicide attempts. Still, by the next year, Garland was staging a comeback in a different venue (the first of many such comebacks during her late career), and her four-week live engagement at the London Palladium proved an enormous success. Her subsequent show at the Palace Theater in New York City broke box-office records, and she came to realize that performing in concert was what she liked best—“To retire the [onscreen] character that never was,” suggested Mordden, “and simply to make the music.” From her Hollywood days, working with some of the best composers and arrangers, Garland came away with keen musical judgment and a repertory full of popular favorites; she learned “the architecture of a song,” according to Mordden, “the weight, the build, the climax, the embellishments.” This mastery of performance, along with her musical gifts, made Garland America’s most popular female singer during the 1950s and 1960s.
Garland returned to the screen occasionally, most notably in the 1954 motion picture A Star Is Born. Unlike her earlier films, this movie suggested that show business stardom is not without price; Mordden noted that songs like “The Man That Got Away” and “It’s a World” “sound different from the tunes Garland sang for L. B. Mayer—less golden and content.” People critic Ralph Novak similarly observed that a “penetrating sense of tragedy and world-weariness began taking over Garland’s voice” as her personal life deteriorated; her flawless diction became slurred at times, and her moving signature vibrato occasionally wavered out of control. Suffering from chronic hepatitis (due, in part, to her substance abuse) and failing with a weekly television series, Garland began to decline steadily after 1963. Her final concerts were fraught with drama and uncertainty: would she show? fall onstage? remember lyrics? retreat in terror? The suspense only reinforced the emotional ties she forged with her audiences; the entertainer once admitted that emotion was her business. “Garland’s life demolishes that essential show-biz myth of her era—that to go out there a youngster and come back a star is heaven on earth,” concluded Mordden. “The legend is sorrow, but the music remains vital…. She left behind … her extraordinary ability to communicate through a song.”
Garland’s first recordings, in the late 1930s, were single releases for Decca records. She began recording albums in the mid-1940s for such labels as MGM and RCA Victor, and later, for Columbia and Capitol. The many reissues and compilations of her recordings include:
Live at the London Palladium, MFSL, 1982.
From the Decca Vaults, MCA, 1985.
(With Victor Young) The Wizard of OzlPinocchio, MCA.
The Best of Judy Garland from MGM Classic Films (1938-1950),
The Best of Judy Garland, MCA.
Judy Garland Collector’s Items (1936-45), MCA.
The Hits of Judy Garland, Capitol.
Judy, Capitol, 1989.
Judy at Carnegie Hall, Capitol.
Judy! That’s Entertainment, Capitol.
Judy Garland Live, Capitol, 1989.
Alone, Capitol, 1989.
Miss Show Business, Capitol, 1989.
Palace Two-a-Day: Judy Live at the Palace, February 1952, CITM.
Judy Garland, Volume 1: Born in a Trunk, 1935-40, Volume 2: 1940-45, Volume 3: Superstar, 1945-50, AEI.
The Best of the Decca Years, Volume 1, MCA, 1990.
Coleman, Emily R., The Complete Judy Garland: The Ultimate Guide to Her Career in Films, Records, Concerts, Radio and Television, 1935-1969, Harper, 1990.
The New Grove Dictionary of American Music, Macmillan, 1986.
Simon, George T., and others, The Best of the Music Makers, Doubleday, 1979.
New Yorker, October 22, 1990.
People, March 11, 1985.
Stereo Review, August, 1982.
"Garland, Judy." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 18, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/garland-judy
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Judy Garland starred in films, musicals, and on the concert stage. A superstar who never lost her appeal, she is best remembered for her performance in The Wizard of Oz and for the song "Over the Rainbow."
Becoming Judy Garland
Judy Garland was born Frances Ethel Gumm on June 10, 1922, in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. She was the last of three daughters of former vaudeville (traveling variety entertainment) actors Frank and Ethel Gumm. Judy began her show business career before she was three years old at her father's theater, the New Grand Theater. The family soon moved to Los Angeles, California, and to better climates than those found in remote northern Minnesota. By age six she was a veteran performer, appearing with her two older sisters in a vaudeville act. After her father's health declined, the sisters' act soon became the primary source of income for the family.
Mistakenly billed as "The Glum Sisters" in 1931, the sisters, at the suggestion of a fellow performer, changed their stage name to Garland (the name of a then-popular drama critic). Shortly thereafter, at her own insistence, Garland changed her first name from Frances to Judy (after a popular song of the day).
In 1935 the head of MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer), a major Hollywood studio, heard Judy Garland sing and quickly signed her to a contract. There was some uncertainty at the studio on how to use her talents. A year passed before she made her first MGM film, a two-reeler. Her first appearance in a feature did not come until 1937, when she was loaned to another major studio, Twentieth Century-Fox. That same year at an MGM party for its star Clark Gable (1901–1960), Garland was a hit singing a specialty number, "Dear Mr. Gable," which was adapted from the well-known standard "You Made Me Love You." As a result she and the song were used for the 1937 feature Broadway Melody of 1938. Again she earned praise within the industry.
MGM quickly put Garland into more films, each spotlighting her singing. In her next film, Thoroughbreds Don't Cry (1937), she was cast with another childhood star, Mickey Rooney (1920–), with whom she would later appear in eight films. MGM paired them in some of the Andy Hardy films, a series starring Rooney as an "average" American teenager. The duo performed in such movies as Babes in Arms (1939), Strike Up The Band (1940), Babes on Broadway (1941), and Girl Crazy (1943). Her most memorable film role, and the one that made her a household name, came in 1939 with The Wizard of Oz. She won a special Oscar as "best juvenile performer of the year" for her role as Dorothy. The film also provided her with the song with which she was identified for the rest of her life—"Over the Rainbow."
During the 1940s Garland graced a number of outstanding musicals, including Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), The Harvey Girls (1946), and Easter Parade (1948). She was superb in a non-singing role in The Clock, a pleasant drama about a young girl and a serviceman on leave.
Fall from grace
Garland's personal life, however, was less successful. She married music arranger David Rose in 1941, but that marriage ended long before their 1945 divorce. That same year she married director Vincente Minnelli (1910– 1986), who guided Garland in some of her most notable films, including The Pirate (1948). Daughter Liza Minnelli (later a star in her own right) was born in 1946. This second marriage also failed and was over well before the 1951 divorce. All during the 1940s Garland was hampered by a lack of self-confidence, strained by constant work, and slowed by weight problems. She became heavily dependent on pills and in the end broke down, trying to kill herself in 1950.
Once a professional talent and hard worker, Garland became a problem artist during the 1940s. The filming of In the Good Old Summertime (1949) was repeatedly delayed, as was Summer Stock (1950). A pattern had been set that would increasingly set back her career. She was replaced in a number of films and finally was fired by MGM in 1950.
Ups and downs
Sidney Luft, a successful promoter who later became her third husband (1952), started Garland on a career on concert stages. She was a smashing success at the Palladium in London, England, at the Palace Theatre in New York City, and elsewhere. The magnificent film A Star Is Born (1954) capped her comeback, and she earned an Oscar nomination. But faltering health, increasing drug dependency, and alcohol abuse led to nervous breakdowns, suicide attempts, and recurrent breakups with Luft, by whom she had two children, Lorna (1952) and Joseph (1955). The Lufts finally divorced in 1965 after years of legal wrangling.
Notwithstanding her troubles, Garland undertook a highly successful concert tour in 1961, which was capped by an enthusiastically received concert at New York City's Carnegie Hall. The live recording of that event sold over two million copies. That same year she earned an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress for her dramatic performance in the film Judgment at Nuremberg. She had another non-singing role in the British film A Child Is Waiting (1963). Her last film role was in another British film, I Could Go On Singing (1963). Garland had made a well-received television debut in 1955 on the Ford Star Jubilee and had done well in other guest appearances. Unfortunately, her long-awaited television weekly series did not fare well, and CBS cancelled the variety show after one season (1963–1964).
Garland's personal and professional life continued to be a series of ups and downs, marked by failing performances, comebacks, lawsuits, hospitalizations, and suicide attempts. After divorcing Luft she married Mark Herron, a young actor with whom she had traveled for some time. The marriage lasted only months. Mickey Deans, a discotheque manager twelve years her junior, whom she had married earlier that year, found her dead in their London flat on June 21, 1969. Death came from an "accidental" overdose of pills. She is buried in Hartsdale, New York.
Judy Garland was a superstar who, as one critic pointed out, "managed the considerable feat of converting herself into an underdog." Despite all the lows in her life she remained immensely popular and had an appeal that was never entirely lost.
For More Information
Clarke, Gerald. Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland. New York: Random House, 2000.
Frank, Gerold. Judy. New York: Harper & Row, 1975.
Schechter, Scott. Judy Garland: The Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Legend. New York: Cooper Square Press, 2002.
"Garland, Judy." UXL Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 18, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/garland-judy
"Garland, Judy." UXL Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Retrieved April 18, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/garland-judy
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
Judy Garland (1922-1969) starred in films, musicals, and on the concert stage. A superstar who never lost her waif appeal, she is best remembered for her performance in The Wizard of Oz and for the song "Over the Rainbow."
Judy Garland, born Frances Ethel Gumm on June 10, 1922, in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, began her show business career before she was three years old. By age six she was a veteran performer, appearing with her two older sisters in a vaudeville act. Mistakenly billed as "The Glum Sisters" in 1931, the sisters at the suggestion of a fellow performer changed their stage name to Garland (the name of a then-prominent drama critic). Shortly thereafter, at her own insistence, she changed her first name from Frances to Judy (after a popular song of the day).
In 1935 the head of MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) was induced to hear her sing. Enthused, he signed her to a contract. There was some uncertainty at the studio on how to utilize her talents. A year passed before she made her first MGM film, a two reeler. Her first appearance in a feature did not come until 1937, when she was loaned to Twentieth Century-Fox. That same year at an MGM party for its star Clark Gable she was a hit singing a specialty number, "Dear Mr. Gable" adapted from the well-known standard "You Made Me Love You." As a result she and the song were incorporated into the 1937 feature Broadway Melody of 1938. Again she earned accolades.
MGM quickly put Garland into more films, each spotlighting her in song. In her next film—Thoroughbreds Don't Cry (1937)—she was cast with Mickey Rooney, with whom she subsequently appeared in eight films. MGM paired them in some of the Andy Hardy films, a series starring Rooney as an "average" American teenager. The duo was also winning in movies of the "c'mon kids, let's put on a show" type, including Babes in Arms (1939), Strike Up The Band (1940), Babes on Broadway (1941), and Girl Crazy (1943). Her most memorable film role (and the one which catapulted her to stardom) came in 1939 with The Wizard of Oz. She won a special Oscar as "best juvenile performer of the year." The film also provided her with the song ("Over the Rainbow") with which she was identified until her death.
During the 1940s she graced a number of outstanding musicals, including Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), The Harvey Girls (1946), and Easter Parade (1948). She was superb in a non-singing role in The Clock, a sentimental drama about a young girl and a serviceman on leave.
Garland's personal life, however, was less successful. She married music arranger David Rose in 1941, but that marriage ended long before the 1945 divorce. That same year she married director Vincente Minnelli, who guided Garland in some of her most notable films, including The Pirate (1948). Daughter Liza Minnelli (later a star in her own right) was born in 1946. This second marriage also faltered and was over well before the 1951 divorce. All during the 1940s she was plagued by a lack of self-confidence, strained by incessant work, hampered by weight problems. She became heavily dependent on pills and in the the end broke down, her first known suicide attempt coming in 1950.
Once an admirable trouper, she became during the 1940s a problem artist. The filming of In the Good Old Summertime (1949) was repeatedly delayed, as was Summer Stock (1950). A pattern had been set which would increasingly debilitate her. She was replaced in a number of films and finally was fired by MGM in 1950.
Sidney Luft, a dynamic promoter who later became her third husband (1952), started Garland on a career on concert stages. She was a smashing success at the Palladium in London, at the Palace Theatre in New York City, and elsewhere. The magnificent film A Star Is Born (1954) capped her comeback, and she earned an Oscar nomination. But faltering health, increasing drug dependency, and alcohol abuse led to nervous breakdowns, suicide attempts, and recurrent breakups with Luft, by whom she had two children, Lorna (1952) and Joseph (1955). The Lufts finally divorced (1965) after years of legal wrangling.
Notwithstanding her troubles, Garland undertook a highly successful concert tour in 1961, which was capped by an enthusiastically received concert at Carnegie Hall: the live recording of that event sold over two million copies. That same year she won an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress for her dramatic performance in the film Judgment at Nuremberg. She had another non-singing role in the British film A Child Is Waiting (1963). Her last film role was in another British film, I Could Go On Singing (1963). Garland had made an auspicious television debut in 1955 on the Ford Star Jubilee and had done well in other guest appearances. Unfortunately, her long awaited television weekly series did not fare well, and CBS cancelled the variety show after one season (1963-1964).
Garland's personal and professional life continued to be a series of ups and downs, marked by faltering performances, comebacks, lawsuits, hospitalizations, and suicide attempts. After divorcing Luft she married Mark Herron, a younger, inconsequential actor with whom she had travelled for some time; the marriage lasted only months. Mickey Deans, a discotheque manager 12 years her junior, whom she married earlier that year, found her dead in their London flat on June 21, 1969. Death came from an "accidental" overdose of barbituates. She is buried in Hartsdale, New York.
Judy Garland was a superstar who, as one critic pointed out, "managed the considerable feat of converting herself into an underdog." Despite all the lows in her life she remained immensely popular and had a waif appeal that was never entirely lost.
There are biographies of Judy Garland by Anne Edwards (1975) and Christopher Finch (1975). There is an overview of her films and career by Joe Morella and Edward Z. Epstein (1970). More personal points of view are to be found in Mickey Dean's memoir (1972) and in Mel Tormé's less than kind recollection of working with Garland on her television show. □
"Judy Garland." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 18, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/judy-garland
"Judy Garland." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Retrieved April 18, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/judy-garland
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Judy Garland, 1922–69, American singer and film actress, b. Grand Rapids, Minn., originally named Frances Gumm. She sang in her father's theater from the age of four as one of The Gumm Sisters; she later toured in vaudeville. Beginning her film career in 1935, she endeared herself to the public in the Andy Hardy film series and in The Wizard of Oz (1939). Her later films include Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), Easter Parade (1948), A Star is Born (1954), and Judgment at Nuremburg (1960). Her first husband was the director Vincente Minnelli. Their daughter Liza Minnelli, 1946–, b. Hollywood, Calif., is also a singer, dancer, and actress. She made her Broadway debut in Flora, the Red Menace (1965; Tony Award). Minelli has appeared in a number of films, including The Sterile Cuckoo (1969), Cabaret (1972; Academy Award), New York, New York (1977), and two Arthur films (1981 and 1988). She has performed in solo nightclub appearances and has also been seen frequently on television, most notably in a televised concert with her mother at the London Palladium (1964) and in Liza with a Z (1978; Golden Globe). Garland's second daughter, Lorna Luft, 1953–, is also an actress and singer who has appeared in films, on stage, and in various performance venues. In addition, she wrote Me and My Shadows, a Family Memoir (1998).
See biographies of Garland by M. Tormé (1970), her husband M. Deans (1972), and G. Clarke (2000).
"Garland, Judy." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 18, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/garland-judy
"Garland, Judy." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved April 18, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/garland-judy
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
"Garland, Judy." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 18, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/garland-judy
"Garland, Judy." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved April 18, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/garland-judy