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Actress and singer Judy Garland was the star of many classic musical films, and was known for her tremendous talent and troubled life.
Louis B. Mayer - Full Episode (45:13)
Judy Garland signed with MGM at the age of 13 and in 1939 she starred in "The Wizard of Oz." After years of battling addiction and professional disappointments, she died on June 22, 1969.
Judy Garland made 26 films for MGM in 12 years. She spent the 1960s performing her hits in concert, featuring songs such as "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "The Man that Got Away."
While filming "Singin' in the Rain," Gene Kelly was ill, his suits were shrinking underneath the hot lights, and he filmed for days in the rain. Despite all of this, he managed to perform one of the most famous scenes in movie history.
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Actress and singer Judy Garland was born June 10, 1922, in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Garland signed a movie contract with MGM at the age of 13. In 1939, she scored one of her greatest on-screen successes with The Wizard of Oz. In 1950, MGM dropped her from her contract. In the 1960s, Judy Garland spent more time as a singer than an actress. She died in 1969 of an accidental overdose.
"I was born at the age of 12 on a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lot."
"My whole life, this disease has been rampant. I inherited it, and it's been horrendous, but I have always asked for help. [On her battle with alcoholism]"
"We cast away priceless time in dreams, born of imagination, fed upon illusion, and put to death by reality."
"You are never so alone as when you are ill on stage."
"A really great reception makes me feel like I have a great big warm heating pad all over me."
"Sometimes I felt as if I was performing in a blizzard."
"If you want fame you have to pay for it—and brother, I have!"
"I'm always laughing at myself. I must be a very funny person to live with."
"Hollywood is a strange place if you're in trouble. Everybody thinks it's contagious."
"I can live without money, but I cannot live without love."
"I've always taken The Wizard of Oz very seriously, you know. I believe in the idea of the rainbow. And I've spent my entire life trying to get over it."
"Be a first rate version of yourself, instead of a second rate version of somebody else."
"In the silence of night I have often wished for just a few words of love from one man, rather than the applause of thousands of people."
Actress and singer Jude Garland was born Frances Ethel Gumm on June 10, 1922, in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Garland, the star of many classic musical films, was known for her tremendous talent and troubled life. She started out in show business at an early age. The daughter of vaudeville professionals, she started her stage career as a child.
Garland was called "Baby Gumm" and sang "Jingle Bells" at her first public performance at age of two and a half. With her two older sisters, Susie and Jimmie, Garland soon began performing as part of the Gumm Sisters.
In 1926, the Gumm family moved to California where Garland and her sisters studied acting and dancing. They played numerous gigs that their mother Ethel had arranged for them as their manager and agent. In the late 1920s, the Gumm sisters also appeared in several short films.
The Gumm sisters transformed into the Garland sisters at the World's Fair in Chicago in 1934. Traveling with their mother, the sisters played at a theater with comedian George Jessel who reportedly suggested they become the Garland sisters. Garland shed her nickname "Baby" in favor of a more mature and vibrant Judy. The following year, she would become a solo act, signing a movie contract with MGM at the age of 13. It was on a radio broadcast that November, however, that Garland debuted one of the songs most closely associated with her, "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart." Shortly after the program aired, Garland suffered a great personal loss when her father Frank died of spinal meningitis.
Despite her personal anguish, Garland continued on her path to film stardom. One of her first feature film roles was in Pigskin Parade (1936). Playing a girl-next-door type of role, Garland went on to co-star in Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938) with friend Mickey Rooney. The two proved to be a popular pairing, and they co-starred in several more Andy Hardy films.
Not only was she working a lot, Garland was under pressure from the studio about her looks and her weight. She was given amphetamines to boost her energy and control her weight. Unfortunately, Garland would soon become reliant on this medication as well as needing to take something else to help her sleep. Drug problems would plague her throughout her career.
In 1939, Garland scored one of her greatest on-screen successes with The Wizard of Oz (1939), which showcased her singing talents as well as her acting abilities. Garland received a special Academy Award for her portrayal of Dorothy, the girl from Kansas transported to Oz. She soon made several more musicals, including Strike Up the Band (1940), Babes of Broadway (1942) with Mickey Rooney, and For Me and My Gal (1943) with Gene Kelly.
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