Judy Garland (June 10, 1922 - June 22, 1969) was a American film actress who is considered one of the greatest singing stars of Hollywood's Golden Era of musical film.
Born Frances Ethel Gumm in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, she was born into a family of vaudeville players. One year, her parents and her two older sisters were performing in a Christmas show. Young Frances got on the stage and stole the show with a rendition of Jingle Bells; she was two and a half years old. The family soon moved to Lancaster, California and the Gumm Sisters began work on stage and in movies. Frances was soon known as Baby Gumm.
In 1934, the Gumm Sisters were performing in Chicago with George Jessel. Jessel encouraged the group to choose a less humorous name. They settled on the Three Garlands, and young Frances chose the name Judy.
Garland was signed at the age of 13 by Louis B. Mayer to a contract with MGM without a screen test. At the age of 16, she got the role of Dorothy in the film of The Wizard of Oz (1939), and was forever afterwards associated with the song, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". After Oz, Garland became one of MGM's most important stars, proving particularly popular when teamed with Mickey Rooney in a string of "let's put on a show!" musicals.
Throughout the 1940s her films increased in popularity, the most critically and financially successful being Meet Me in St. Louis, in which she introduced three classics standards: "The Trolley Song," "The Boy Next Door," and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Her other famous films include The Harvey Girls (1946) (in which she introduced "On the Atchison Topeka and the Santa Fe"), Easter Parade (1948), A Star Is Born (1954), and Judgment at Nuremberg (1961). She received an honorary Academy Award for her performance in The Wizard of Oz, and was nominated for Best Actress in A Star is Born, and Best Supporting Actress for Judgment at Nuremberg.
Renewed stardom in television
When her MGM contract was terminated in 1950, Garland turned to television and live concert appearances. Throughout the 1950s and most notably in the early 1960s she made enormously successful appearances in both mediums. Her appearance at Carnegie Hall on April 23, 1961, was a considerable highlight, called by many the "greatest single night in show business," and the live recording made of the event was a best seller and won Grammy Awards as the Album of the Year and Best Female Vocal of the Year. She had a critically praised if short-lived television series in 1963-64.
The shortcomings of her childhood years became more apparent as Garland struggled to overcome various personal problems, including weight gain, heavy drinking, and drug addiction. Her children were Liza Minnelli, Lorna Luft, and Joey Luft. Of Garland's five marriages, the first four marriages all ended in divorce. She died in 1969 at the age of 47 in London from an accidental overdose of barbituates. Garland was interred in the Ferncliff Cemetery, Hartsdale, New York.
Legacy in gay rights
A gay icon, Garland always had a large fan base in the gay community. Her funeral in Manhattan resulted in an outpouring of New York City fans, with more than 20,000 coming to view her body - including hundreds of gay men. That night during a routine police raid at the Stonewall gay bar in Greenwich Village, mourning gay fans fought back and sparked days of "gay liberation" riots. Garland's death had played a role in sparking one of the key events of the modern gay rights movement.
David Rose (1910-1990; married 1941-1945)
Vincente Minnelli (1903-1986, married 1945-1951)
Sidney Luft (1952-1964)
Mark Herron (1928-1996, married 1964-1967)
Mickey Deans (née Michael DeVinko, 1934-2003) (married 1969)
I Could Go On Singing UA/Barbican, 1963
A Child Is Waiting UA, 1963
Gay Purr-ee Warner Bros/UPA, 1963
Judgment at Nuremberg UA, 1961
Pepe Columbia, 1960 (voice only)
A Star Is Born Warner Bros, 1954
Summer Stock MGM, 1950
In the Good Old Summertime MGM, 1949
Words and Music MGM, 1948
Easter Parade MGM, 1948
The Pirate MGM, 1948
Till the Clouds Roll By MGM, 1946
Ziegfeld Follies of 1946 MGM, 1946
The Harvey Girls MGM, 1946
The Clock MGM, 1945
Meet Me in St. Louis MGM, 1944
Thousands Cheer MGM, 1943
Girl Crazy MGM, 1943
Presenting Lily Mars MGM, 1943
For Me and My Gal MGM, 1942
We Must Have Music MGM short subject, 1941
Babes on Broadway MGM, 1941
Life Begins for Andy Hardy MGM, 1941
Ziegfeld Girl MGM, 1941
Little Nellie Kelly MGM, 1940
Strike Up the Band MGM, 1940
Andy Hardy Meets Debutante MGM, 1940
If I Forget YouMGM short subject, 1940
Babes in ArmsMGM, 1939
The Wizard of OzMGM, 1939
Listen, DarlingMGM, 1938
Love Finds Andy HardyMGM, 1938
Everybody SingMGM, 1938
Silent NightMGM Christmas Trailer, 1937
Thoroughbreds Don't CryMGM, 1937
Broadway Melody of 1938MGM, 1937
Pigskin Parade Fox, 1936
Every Sunday MGM short subject, 1936
La Fiesta de Santa Barbara MGM short subject, 1935
Bubbles Vitaphone short subject, 1929
The Wedding of Jack and Jill Vitaphone short subject, 1929
A Holiday in Storyland Vitaphone short subject, 1929
The Big Revue Meglin short subject, 1929