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|Judy Garland Biography and Filmography
Birthday: June 10, 1922
Birth Place: Grand Rapids, Minnesota, USA
Height: 4' 1"
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Entertainer Judy Garland was both one of the greatest and one of the most tragic figures in American show business. The daughter of a pushy stage mother, Garland and her sisters were forced into a vaudeville act called the Gumm Sisters (her real name), which appeared in movie shorts and at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. It was clear from the outset that Judy was the star of the act, and, as such, was signed by MGM as a solo performer in 1936. The studio adored Garland's adult-sounding singing but was concerned about her puffy facial features and her curvature of the spine. MGM decided to test both Garland and another teenage contractee, Deanna Durbin, in a musical "swing vs. the classics" short subject entitled Every Sunday (1936). The studio had planned to keep Durbin and drop Garland, but, through a corporate error, the opposite took place. Nevertheless, MGM decided to allow Garland her feature film debut in another studio's production, just in case the positive audience response to Every Sunday was a fluke. Loaned to 20th Century Fox, Garland was ninth-billed in Pigskin Parade (1936), but stole the show with her robust renditions of "Balboa" and "Texas Tornado." Garland returned to MGM in triumph and was given better opportunities to show her stuff: the "Dear Mr. Gable" number in Broadway Melody of 1938, "Zing Went the Strings of My Heart" in Listen, Darling (1938), and so on. When MGM planned to star 20th Century Fox's Shirley Temple in The Wizard of Oz, Garland almost didn't get her most celebrated role, but the deal fell through and she was cast as Dorothy. But even after this, the actress nearly lost her definitive screen moment when the studio decided to cut the song "Over the Rainbow," although finally kept the number after it tested well in previews. The Wizard of Oz made Garland a star, but MGM couldn't see beyond the little-girl image and insisted upon casting her in "Hey, kids, let's put on a show" roles opposite Mickey Rooney (a life-long friend). Garland proved to the world that she was a grown-up by marrying composer David Rose in 1941, after which MGM began giving her adult roles in such films as For Me and My Gal (1942) — although still her most successful film of the early '40s was in another blushing-teen part in Meet Me in St. Louis (1944). Once very popular on the set due to her infectious high spirits, in the mid-'40s Garland became moody and irritable, as well as undependable insofar as showing up on time and being prepared. The problem was an increasing dependency upon barbiturates, an addiction allegedly inaugurated in the 1930s when the studio had Garland "pepped up" with prescription pills so that she could work longer hours. Garland also began drinking heavily, and her marriage was deteriorating. In 1945, she married director Vincente Minnelli, with whom she had a daughter, Liza, in 1946. By 1948, Garland's mood swings and suicidal tendencies were getting the better of her, and, in 1950, she had to quit the musical Annie Get Your Gun. That same year, she barely got through Summer Stock, her health problems painfully evident upon viewing the film. Before 1950 was half over, Garland attempted suicide, and, after recovering, was fired by MGM. Garland and Vincente Minnelli divorced in 1951, whereupon she married producer Sid Luft, who took over management of his wife's career and choreographed Garland's triumphant comeback at the London Palladium, a success surpassed by her 1951 appearance at New York's Palace Theatre. Luft strong-armed Warner Bros. to bankroll A Star Is Born (1954), providing Garland with her first film role in four years. It was Garland's best film to date, earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress, and allowed her a wealth of songs to sing and a full range of emotions to play.Riding high once more, Garland was later reduced to the depths of depression when she lost the Oscar to Grace Kelly. Her subsequent live appearances were wildly inconsistent, and her film performances ranged from excellent (Judgment at Nuremberg ) to appallingly undisciplined (A Child Is Waiting ). Her third marriage on the rocks, Garland nonetheless pulled herself together for an unforgettable 1961 appearance at Carnegie Hall, which led indirectly to her 1963 weekly CBS series, The Judy Garland Show. As with most of the significant moments in Garland's life, much contradictory information has emerged regarding the program and her behavior therein; the end result, however, was its cancellation after one year, due less to the inconsistent quality of the series (it began poorly, but finished big with several "concert" episodes) as to the competition of NBC's Bonanza. Garland's marriage to Sid Luft, which produced her daughter Lorna, ended in divorce in 1965, and, from there on, Garland's life and career made a rapid downslide. She made a comeback attempt in London in 1968, but audiences ranged from enthusiastic to indifferent — as did her performances. A 1969 marriage to discotheque manager Mickey Deems did neither party any good, nor did a three-week engagement at a London nightclub, during which Garland was booed off the stage. On June 22, 1969, Judy Garland was found dead in her London apartment, the victim of an ostensibly accidental overdose of barbiturates. Despite (or perhaps because of) the deprivations of her private life, Garland has remained a show business legend. As to her untimely demise, Ray Bolger summed it up best in his oft-quoted epitaph: "Judy didn't die. She just wore out."
- 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.
- Sister of Mary Jane Gumm and Virginia Gumm.
- Mother of Liza Minnelli and Lorna Luft.
- She married Mark Herron on June 12th 1964, although her divorce from Sid Luft was not settled. They were married in the Mandarin by a Buddhist priest, and the validity of this marriage is not clear.
- Her record "Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall" from 1961 garnered 5 Grammy Awards and remained at the top of Billboards charts for two months.
- 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.
- Originally screen-tested and signed to play in Valley of the Dolls (1967); ultimately replaced by Susan Hayward.
- Her funeral was held 27 June 1969 in Manhattan at the Frank E. Campgell funeral home at Madison Avenue and Eighty-first Street. Twenty-two thousand people filed past Judy's open coffin over a twenty-four hour period. Judy's ex-husband, Vincente Minnelli did not attend the funeral. 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 Cemetary in Ardsley, New York. Liza Minnelli has the impression that Judy's last husband, Mickey Deans has 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-over-dosage of Seconal" which had raised the barbiturate level in her body beyond its tolerance.
- Interred at Ferncliff Cemetery, Hartsdale, New York, USA.
- 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?"
- The day she died, there was a tornado in Kansas.
- Liza Minnelli said that Judy planned on calling her autobiography "Ho-Hum".
- Her 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...)
- Mother of Joey Luft.
- Mother-in-law of Jack Haley Jr.
- 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.
- 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.
- In 1997, Judy Garland was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
- Garland's album, "Judy at Carnegie Hall" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.
- First cousin three times removed of President 'Ulysses S. Grant' .
- 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 ,000 to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to end their second lawsuit against him for repeatedly trying to sell the statuette. (September 2002)
- Favorite actor was Robert Donat (best known for his portrayal of the title character in the film Goodbye, Mr. Chips (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.
- She 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 anonomity as a freelance photographer.
- 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.
- Was a member of The International Order of Job's Daughters.
- She was voted the 23rd Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
- 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.
- Wore fake teeth for The Wizard of Oz (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.
- 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.
- She was three-quarters Scottish and one-quarter Irish in ancestry.
- In 1952, received a Special Tony Award "for an important contribution to the revival of vaudeville through her recent stint at the Palace Theatre."
- When she married Vincente Minnelli, Louis B. Mayer gave her away.
- Her weight fluctuated much throughout her life. Sometimes she would be 80 pounds and then could gain 30 pounds in a a matter of days, only to lose it all again. An example of this weight fluctuation can be seen in Summer Stock (1950).
- She was voted the 22nd Greatest Movie Star of all time by Premiere Magazine.
- Was named #8 Actress on The AFI 50 Greatest Screen Legends
- Pictured on one of four 25¢ USA commemorative postage stamps issued 23 March 1990 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).
- 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).
- "Quiet Please, There's A Lady On Stage" was written by Peter Allen as a tribute to Judy Garland.
- 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 'Vincent Minnelli' .
- After serving as the music director on Garland's short-lived CBS, 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.
- Her performance as Vicki Lester in "A Star is Born" (1954) is ranked #72 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
- 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.
- 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.
- Pictured on a 39¢ USA commemorative postage stamp in the Legends of Hollywood series, issued 10 June 2006.
- The godparents of her daughter Liza Minnelli were Ira Gershwin and Kay Thompson
- Grandmother of Vanessa and Jesse Richards, children of singer Lorna Luft, and Serena Minnelli, adopted daughter of singer/actress Liza Minnelli.