- Frances Ethel Gumm
- Grand Rapids Minnesota USA
- United States
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Judy Garland Introduction
If you don't know who Judy Garland is, you have issues.
Judy Garland Life Story
Judy Garland immediately attracted attention in such films as Pigskin Parade (1936), Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938) and Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937), but Judy Garland didn't truly become a star until she was cast in The Wizard of Oz (1939). Her performance as Dorothy won her a special Juvenile Oscar, and it was this role, of course, that gave her her most famous song, "Over the Rainbow." She then appeared in a long string of classic MGM musicals, including Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), Easter Parade (1948) and several with her friend, Mickey Rooney.
Unfortunately, the same studio that made her a star unwittingly made her a drug addict, providing her with amphetamines to keep her energy level high and her weight level down. This in turn kept her wide awake at night, unable to sleep, so she was given barbiturates to help her sleep. She soon couldn't live without these "wonder drugs." She also couldn't seem to live without a man, as she went through several affairs, often with older men, and by 1950 had been married twice, to bandleader David Rose and director Vincente Minnelli. She had a daughter, Liza Minnelli, with Vincente.
All during this time her drug intake had increased dramatically, which led to increasingly erratic behavior and she often failed to show up on time at the studio. MGM eventually couldn't take it any more, and her contract was terminated in 1950. She divorced Minnelli the following year and married producer Sidney Luft. Luft, the father of her daughter Lorna Luft and son Joey Luft, took it upon himself to orchestrate her comeback with a series of very successful concert tours. He also produced the film A Star Is Born (1954), in which many feel she gave her greatest performance. By now she was concentrating on her career as a singer, which was winning her more legions of fans. She continued touring throughout the 1950s and 1960s, appearing in three more films and starring in her own television variety show in 1963, which had to be canceled after one season because the competition, "Bonanza" (1959), was too strong.
She divorced Luft and married actor Mark Herron; she divorced him when she found out he was gay, and married disco manager Mickey Deans. Throughout this time, however, she still continued her dependency on prescription drugs, and finally the inevitable happened: on the night of June 22, 1969, she overdosed on barbiturates and died. Thousands mourned the world over. It was a sad way to end, but she has left a great legacy: her many films and recordings, as well as her children. Liza and Lorna are now singers as well, carrying on the family tradition.