Judy Garland was an actor and singer best known for her role as Dorothy in the classic 1939 film, “The Wizard of Oz,” for which she won an Academy Juvenile Award. She also starred in iconic musicals such as “Meet Me in St. Louis” and “A Star Is Born.” Garland, who later became an icon of the LGBTQ+ community, died of an accidental overdose in 1969, at the age of 47.
Judy Garland Biography
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Judy Garland was born Frances Ethel Gumm on June 10, 1922, in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, to parents Frank and Ethel Gumm. Her parents owned a movie theater in Grand Rapids, where she got her start as a performer. At age 3, Judy and her two sisters formed an act called “The Gumm Sisters” which they took on the vaudeville circuit between 1929 and 1935. It was during this time that she earned the nickname “Baby Gumm” and gained recognition as a child prodigy. She made her film debut in the 1933 movie “Every Sunday,” a comedy co-starring Deanna Durbin.
In 1935, 14-year-old Judy made her Broadway debut in the musical “Little Nellie Kelly,” but it was her performance in “The Wizard of Oz” that made her a star. Her signature song from the movie, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” reached number one on the charts and earned her an Academy Juvenile Award in 1940.
Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, Garland became one of the most popular singers and entertainers in the world. She starred in the 1944 musical “Meet Me in St. Louis,” for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. She also starred alongside James Mason in the 1954 drama “A Star Is Born.” Garland was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance.
Throughout her life, Garland struggled with alcohol, substance abuse, and depression. She attempted suicide several times and suffered public ridicule due to her bisexuality. Despite her sadness and struggles, Garland’s career remained strong throughout the 1960s. She performed in sold-out concert tours across the world and was a regular on television variety shows.
Judy Garland Filmography
La Fiesta de Santa Barbara (1935), Pigskin Parade (1936), Broadway Melody of 1938, Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry (1937), Everybody Sing, Love Finds Andy Hardy, Listen, Darling (1938), The Wizard of Oz, Babes in Arms (1939), Andy Hardy Meets Debutante, Strike Up the Band, Little Nellie Kelly (1940), Ziegfeld Girl, Life Begins for Andy Hardy, Babes on Broadway (1941), For Me and My Gal (1942), Presenting Lily Mars, Thousands Cheer, Girl Crazy (1943), Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), The Clock, Ziegfeld Follies (1945), The Harvey Girls, Till the Clouds Roll By (1946), The Pirate, Easter Parade, Words and Music (1948), In the Good Old Summertime (1949), Summer Stock (1950), A Star Is Born (1954), Pepe (1960), Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), Gay Purr-ee (1962), A Child Is Waiting, I Could Go On Singing (1963).
Judy Garland Husband and Relationship
Garland dated bandleader Artie Shaw when she was a teenager but in early 1940 he eloped with actress Lana Turner. She then started dating singer David Rose, who proposed to her on her 18th birthday, but Rose was still married to actress Martha Raye at the time so they agreed to wait a year to finalize his divorce. While waiting for Rose, she briefly dated songwriter Johnny Mercer. Garland ended things with Mercer and married Rose on July 27, 1941. They were divorced two years later. Garland had an affair with actor Tyrone Power and later with film director Orson Welles, who was married to Rita Hayworth at the time.
Garland married actor Vicente Minnelli on June 15, 1945. She gave birth to their daughter Liza Minnelli, an actress, on March 12, 1946. They were divorced by 1951. From 1952-1965 Garland was married to Sidney Luft, an American show business owner. They had two children together, daughter Lorna Luft, also an actress born on November 21, 1952, and son Joseph Wiley “Joey” Luft born on March 29, 1955.
Her fourth husband was actor Mark Herron who she married in 1965 and they separated five months later. Garland and Herron divorced in 1969 with the actress claiming that her husband was physically abusive. She married singer Mickey Deans in 1969 and they were together until she passed away.
Judy Garland Death & Legacy
On June 22, 1969, Judy Garland died at the age of 47. Past drug and alcohol abuse contributed to her death, which was ruled an accidental overdose. She was posthumously awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997, and her legacy as one of the most iconic figures in entertainment lives on today. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Judy Garland Net Worth
Judy Garland has an estimated net worth of $40,000 which is equivalent to $300,000 today.