Judy Garland, born Frances Ethel Gumm on June 10, 1922, was destined for the stage and the limelight. She started singing at the age of two and continued to nurture her gift to become a worthy competitor in the entertainment industry. Garland dropped the jaws of many in “Wizard of Oz” and made several musicals, including “Strike up the Band.” She won a Tony Award, was in high demand as an entertainer, and also hosted a reality T.V. program, “The Judy Garland Show,” on C.B.S. Join us today to honor her on her special day.
Judy Garland, born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, is the last of three children born to Ethel Milne and Frank Gumm. The family moved to California in 1926, where she and her sisters, Virginia and Mary Jane, studied dancing and music. Having learned music and dance, the sisters started performing on stage, changing their band name from the Gumm Sisters in the late 1920s to the Garland Sisters in 1934.
At 13 years, Garland signed a movie contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (M.G.M.) and recorded her breakthrough film, “Wizard of Oz,” in 1939. For Garland, working with M.G.M. was yet another tough obstacle. She was criticized for her appearance, and amphetamine-based diet pills were prescribed to her. Because of such early exposure to illegal substances, she became a drug user and was in constant battle with her new life of substance abuse. After filming “Wizard of Oz,” she went on to make more musicals, including “Babes of Broadway” in 1942 and “For Me and My Gal” in 1943. She then lost the contract with M.G.M. because of her emotional crisis. But on the journey to rebuild her career, she earned a Tony Award and later got nominated for an Academy Award for her performance of the song ‘The Man That Got Away,’ in the 1954 musical “A Star Is Born.”
Garland was married four times before eventually marrying Mickey Deans a few months before her death. All her marriages ended in divorce, and she gave birth to three children, Liza Minnelli, Lorna Luft, and Joey Luft. While facing severe financial and mental struggles, Garland died of an accidental overdose in London in 1969.
Playing Dorothy in “Wizard of Oz,” Garland surprises the world with a stellar performance, making her one of the greatest stars in the industry with impeccable singing and acting talents.
Garland, at 19, marries 31-year-old David Rose, in Las Vegas, against the objections of her mother and M.G.M.
Owing to Garland’s mental struggles and questionable behaviors, M.G.M. decides to cancel its contract with the young actress.
Garland is honored with a Tony Award for her work in “The Judy Garland Show” and her contributions to the song ‘Vaudeville Montage.’
She divorces her fourth husband, Mark Herron, after being married for five months, claiming that Herron is abusive.
Why We Love Judy Garland
She was resilient
Garland didn't have it easy in the entertainment industry. She was constantly body-shamed and had to pick herself up and get on with the show. She was called names and forced to take pills and go on a strictly monitored diet. Despite this treatment and pressure, she worked hard to deliver the best performances in films.
She was a hustler
After she was dropped by M.G.M., Garland rebuilt her career and put her name on the tongues of the people once again. Her contract termination with M.G.M. create a scandal, but unlike many other celebrities, she picked herself up and continued chasing her dreams.
She made good use of her gift
One thing was for sure, Garland knew she had a melodious voice and knew how to draw the crowds to herself with it. The shows she is featured in showcased her angelic voice, and she won a Grammy Award for Best Solo Vocal Performance. When she hosted the “Judy Garland Show,” the greatest moments of the show featured her showcasing her beautiful voice.
5 Surprising Facts
She had stage fright
Even though she was an actor, Garland suffered from stage fright but forced herself to overcome it.
Her left shoe prevented her fast learning
Growing up, Garland believed that she could only learn fast when she had her left shoe off.
She loved nursing
Garland may not have studied nursing, but one of her ambitions was to become a nurse.
She took sleeping and energy pills
Ethel Milne, Garland’s mother, introduced her to pills before she was 10 — some were to boost her energy; some were to help her sleep.
She was bullied about her weight
M.G.M. bosses would refer to her as ‘fat little pig with pigtails’ and go so far as to restrict her diet to chicken soup, black coffee, and cigarettes, together with pills that reduced her appetite.
Judy Garland FAQs
Why did Judy Garland change her name?
She picked her first name Judy from a song, and her surname, Garland, was influenced by a comedian who suggested that they should have a more theatrical last name.
How did Judy Garland get hepatitis?
Garland got hepatitis from relying on a ‘toxic cocktail of pills’ for more than a decade.
Which school did Judy Garland attend?
She attended Hollywood High School in Los Angeles, where she graduated.
Judy Garland’s birthday dates