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Monday, 10 June 2013

Judy Garland born 10 June 1922

Judy Garland (born Frances Ethel Gumm; June 10, 1922 – June 22, 1969) was an American Academy Award-, Tony Award-, Grammy Award-, and Golden Globe-winning actress (film and stage) and singer. Considered by many to be the 'World's Greatest Entertainer. Through a career that spanned 45 of her 47 years, Garland attained international stardom as an actress in both musical and dramatic roles, as a recording artist and on the concert stage.

Judy Garland was born Frances Ethel Gumm on June 10, 1922, in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, and immediately nicknamed "Baby." Her father managed the town movie theatre; her mother accompanied
silent films on the piano. Both parents performed, as did Baby's two older sisters, and she joined the family act on December 26, 1924, in a song-and-dance routine with her sisters and her own solo, a scheduled one-chorus arrangement of "Jingle Bells." To the delight of the audience, Baby refused to leave the stage and went into reprise after reprise of the latter number; her grandmother finally had to walk on from the wings and carry the child offstage as she protested, "I wanna sing some more!"

The family moved to California in 1926, and over the next nine years, "The Gumm Sisters" made hundreds of stage and radio appearances. In 1929, they were seen in The Big Revue (Mayfair
Pictures) and then sang in three other "Vitaphone Varieties" shorts for First National: A Holiday in Storyland, The Wedding of Jack and Jill, and Bubbles. By 1932, Baby was the center of the act, drawing astounded, astounding response from the public and critics alike. In 1934, the Los Angeles Evening Express compared the scope and depth of her talent to that of legendary actress Sarah Bernhardt and offered, "Little Frances...sang in a way that produced in the audience sensations that haven't been equaled in years. She must have the divine spark to be able to sing as she did...."

In 1935, the group split up due to marriage by the oldest sister in the group. This was not exactly unwelcome news, since reviews of
the trio always singled out the youngest, Judy, with lofty praise. She was billed as "the little girl with the big voice," and soon drew the attention of casting agents. In September of 1935, she signed with MGM, and went on to be their biggest female star. Her time at MGM produced the studio's greatest musicals, such as "The Wizard of Oz," "Meet Me In St. Louis," and "Easter Parade." She also appeared with Mickey Rooney in a dozen films. She was the first celebrity to offer her services as an entertainer in World War two, and was the first female to be named an Honorary Corporal for her war efforts.


Between 1937 and 1950 her films grossed over one hundred million dollars. In 1950, Garland asked to be released from her film contract, and the release was granted. She was the first film performer in history to cross over from film to live performances. She would go on to make some critically acclaimed films (such as the 1954 remake of "A Star Is Born"), but her first love remained the live concert stage, despite making over 30 films in her lifetime. Judy Garland was nominated for two Academy Awards, and won a special Academy Award for her performance in "The Wizard of Oz." She won five Grammy awards, a Tony award, and was nominated for ten Emmy awards. Of her audiences, Judy said, "I just want them to know that I have been in love with them for all my life, and I tried to please. I hope I did."

From 1963-64 she hosted her own weekly television series. From 1964-69 she became primarily a live performer, peppering her live concerts with television appearances. In the last two years of her life she completed 120 concerts.

On June 22, 1969, Garland was found dead by Mickey Deans (her 5th and final husband) in the bathroom of their rented house at 4 Cadogan Lane in Chelsea, London. At the subsequent inquest,
coroner Gavin Thursdon stated that the cause of death was "an incautious self-overdose" of barbiturates. Thursdon stressed
that the overdose had been unintentional and that there was no evidence to suggest she had committed suicide. She had turned 47 just twelve days before her death. Her Wizard of Oz costar Ray Bolger commented at her funeral, "She just plain wore out."

On June 26, Deans took Garland's remains to New York City, where an estimated 20,000 people lined up for hours at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel in Manhattan to pay their respects.  She
was interred in a crypt in the community mausoleum at Ferncliff Cemetery, in Hartsdale, New York.

 Garland's legacy as a performer and a personality has endured long after her death. The American Film Institute named her eighth among the Greatest Female Stars of All Time. She has been the subject of over two dozen biographies since her death and was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. Several of her recordings have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. These include "Over the Rainbow", which was ranked as the number one movie song of all time in the American Film Institute's "100 Years...100 Songs" list. (info edited from various sources but mainly by: Eric Hemphill)


1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For Judy Garland 4CD box set Over The Rainbow

go here: