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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.
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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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Although her television series ended, Garland was still in demand as an entertainer, playing gigs around the world. But her personal life was as troubled as ever. After many separations, Garland divorced Luft in 1965 after a bitter battle over child custody. She quickly remarried—this time to actor Mark Herron. But that union lasted only a few months before dissolving. (The pair later officially divorced in 1967.) In 1967,
Garland made a critically acclaimed return to Broadway for At Home at the Palace.
The next year, Garland went to London. She was in personal and financial trouble by this time. Making some performances at London's Talk of the Town nightclub, Garland was clearly not in good shape on stage. She wed former bandleader and club manager Mickey Deans a few months before her death in 1969. Judy Garland died on June 22, 1969, in London, England, reportedly of an accidental overdose.
The legacy of Garland has been carried on by her daughters Liza Minnelli and Lorna Luft, both of whom are singers and have had varying degrees of success. Lorna wrote about her life with Garland in her 1998 autobiography, Me and My Shadows: A Family Memoir. It became the basis for the 2001 television mini-series Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows. Both of the actresses playing Judy—Tammy Blanchard as young Judy and Judy Davis as more mature Judy—took home Emmy Awards for their portrayals of the famed entertainer.
Nearly 40 years after her death, Garland continues to maintain a devoted following. There are countless fan sites online as well as published biographies that explore almost every aspect of her life—from her brilliant talent, her professional successes and failures, and her myriad of personal struggles. In celebration of the late star, the Judy Garland Museum at her birthplace holds an annual festival.
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