Guest Author - Vance Rowe
Did you know that Judy Garland was 4’11” tall? I thought she was at least 5’5”. You really do learn something new every day. Let’s see if you learn anything new in my article about the entertainer.
Born in 1922, Judy Garland is not the actress’s birth name. In fact, she was named after both of her parents. Her father was Frances “Frank” Gumm and her mother’s name was Ethel Gumm. Frances Ethel Gumm was born with her parents’ love of entertaining. They were both vaudevillians and her father eventually bought a movie theater that showed vaudevillian acts. This is also where Judy Garland got her start in entertainment at the age of two-and-a-half years old. She performed with her two older sisters in a Christmas special that their father hosted. Accompanied by their mother on piano, the Gumm Sisters performed a recital of Jingle Bells.
The Gumm Sisters performed at the theater for the next few years until a scandal forced the family to move from Grand Rapids, Minnesota to Lancaster, California. Judy Garland attended high school at Hollywood High but she graduated from University High School.
Judy Garland would go on to have a fantastic career in entertainment. She appeared in numerous movie musicals, variety and talk shows and even had her own short lived variety series, however, she will always be most famous for starring as Dorothy Gale in “The Wizard of Oz.” The story about a young girl who was knocked unconscious during a tornado and had a fantastic dream that she was in the mythological land of Oz. Her signature song in the musical, Over the Rainbow, earned her a statuette at the Oscars in 1940 for Bets Performance by a Juvenile Actor. Her next Oscar nomination would not come until 1961 for her portrayal in “Judgment at Nuremberg”, but lost out to Rita Moreno who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for her role in “West Side Story.”
Judy was married several times and gave birth to three children. Liza Minelli, Lorna Luft and Joey Luft. She has also had affairs with the likes of Frank Sinatra and James Mason. Judy Garland became addicted to drugs at an early age as she was given amphetamines to help control her weight issues and then her life took a downward spiral because of drugs and even caused her death in 1969. She was performing a concert in Chelsea, London when she went into the bathroom and died of drug overdose. Judy Garland died far too young but gave us a great legacy in such movies as The Wizard of Oz, Easter Parade and A Star is Born.