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She Was So Much More Than A Little Girl From Kansas!

What can I really say about the legendary Judy Garland that hasn't already been said? Maybe I should start with the fact that she was simply beautiful, though she never really saw herself that way. Surrounded by the likes of Lana Turner and Elizabeth Taylor, it must have been hard to do so. Judy wasn't beautiful in the cliche' sense, but she had a way about her that made you feel as if you knew her. She made us love her. Whenever I mention the fact that I'm a Judy Garland fan, I first have to explain that I'm not homosexual, then I have to argue the fact that Judy did not commit suicide. In my heart, I belive this to be true. She had had a troubled history, filled with addictions, failed marriges and losses of the heart, but Garland continued to carry on to make her children smile and the world happy. She has been called the greatest entertainer of all time and rightfully so. She didn't just sing a song, she made you belive in the sentiment of it. Most of the world didn't realize what they could lose if Judy went over the rainbow, until June 22, 1969 when the unthinkable happened. After dozens of suicide attempts and accidental over-doses, we lost Judy Garland, but her legend lives on. With each veiwing of The Wizard of Oz or A Star is Born, Judy lives again. With each listen of any of Garland's albums and standards, we get a taste of her soul. Her voice will remain forever, a part of popular culture and she will live on forever as Dorothy Gale, from Kansas. Her star shone brightly throughout her life, and it has yet to fade! Over 30 films. Dozens of records, live performances and her own television series. Judy was truely a legend in ever sense of the word! Thank you Judy, for all that you've left us. ~Wayne Miller



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 [1961]) to appallingly undisciplined (A Child Is Waiting [1963]). 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." ~ Hal Erickson



~Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.~

~For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.~

~How strange when an illusion dies. It's as though you've lost a child.~ 

~I can live without money, but I cannot live without love.~

~I think there's something peculiar about me that I haven't died. It doesn't make sense but I refuse to die.~

~I try to bring the audience's own drama - tears and laughter they know about - to them.~

~I was born at the age of twelve on an MGM lot.~ 

~I'm the original take-orders girl.~

~I've never looked through a keyhole without finding someone was looking back.~

~If I am a legend, then why am I so lonely?~ 

~If I'm such a legend, then why am I so lonely? Let me tell you, legends are all very well if you've got somebody around who loves you.~ 

~If my daughter, Liza, wants to become an actress, I'll do everything to help her.~

~If you have to be in a soap opera try not to get the worst role.~ 

~In the silence of night I have often wished for just a few words of love from one man, rather than the applause of thousands of people.~

~It's lonely and cold on the top... lonely and cold.~

~My life, my career has been like a roller coaster. I've either been an enormous success or just a down-and-out failure.~

~There have been times when I have deliberately tried to take my life... I think I must have been crying for some attention.~

~'Twas not my lips you kissed, but my soul.~

~We cast away priceless time in dreams, born of imagination, fed upon illusion, and put to death by reality.~

~You are never so alone as when you are ill on stage. The most nightmarish feeling in the world is suddenly to feel like throwing up in front of four thousand people.~

~You shouldn't be told you're completely irresponsible and be left alone with too much medication. It's too easy to forget. You take a couple of sleeping pills and you wake up in twenty minutes and forget you've taken them. So you take a couple more, and the next thing you know you've taken too many.
~Judy Garland

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