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Judy Garland

July Garland (Frances Ethel Gumm) was born on June 10, 1922.  She was an American actress, singer, dancer and vaudevillian.

Her career started out as a child in vaudeville with her two older sisters.  She signed with MGM when she was a teenager; and her most famous role is that of Dorothy Gale in the “Wizard of Oz” (1939).

Garland was always self-conscious about her height (4′ 11.5″) and appearance; and Louis B. Mayer made it worse by calling her his “little hunchback”.  The studio had her wear removable caps on her teeth and rubberized discs to reshape her nose.  She later found a makeup artist who told her she didn’t need all that and became her “go-to” for future MGM movies.  Garland’s image problem followed her throughout her life, making her less confident.

MGM paired Judy with Mickey Rooney and found a winning combination.  “Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry” was their first movie together in 1937, followed by “Love Finds Andy Hardy” (1938) and “Babes in Arms” (1939).  Five  more films including two more Hardy films followed.  In 1939 she received an Academy Juvenile Award for her 1939 performances in the “Wizard of Oz” and “Babes in Arms”.

One of her most successful films as an adult was “Meet Me in St. Louis” (1944) in which she introduced three standards:  “The Trolley Song”, “The Boy Next Door” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”.  During filming in 1947 she had a nervous breakdown and was placed in a private sanitarium.  She returned to filming and made her first suicide attempt.  From this point forward she became a problem on the set, missing days and being late.  Hollywood thought that she was through. Judy was taking pills and drinking which would become an ongoing problem for her.

She fooled Hollywood by making concert tours in 1951, the highlight of which was an appearance at the London Palladium and the Manhattan Palace Theatre.  In 1955 she appeared in several television specials.  She made her Hollywood comeback in 1954 when she starred in “A Star is Born” and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.  In 1956 she appeared in Las Vegas and was paid $55,000 per week, a record-breaking amount in those days.

She appeared in “Judgment at Nuremburg” in 1961 and was nominated for Best Supporting Actress.  In 1961 she also appeared at Carnegie Hall.  A two-record album, “Judy at Carnegie Hall”, went certified gold and won 4 Grammys.  In 1962 she had her own show, “The Judy Garland Show”, which only ran for one season because it played against Bonanza’s time slot.

Judy was married five times.  In 1967 she appeared in “Valley of the Dolls”.  They only wanted her in the movie because of her name and treated her badly.  In 1969 her health deteriorated; and on June 22, 1969, she died of an accidental drug overdose.

Photo Credit:  Pixabay

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Written by LindaOH

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