Sunday, June 10, 2012

Judy Garland: 90 Years Old

One of my favorite actresses and singers, the legendary and incomparable Judy Garland would have been 90 years old today.

Born Frances Ethel Gumm on June 10, 1922 in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, 'Baby Gumm', as she would soon become known as--was introduced to both music and movies at a very young age. Her parents were both vaudevillians and by the time she was born, her father owned a movie theatre and her mother played piano for silent films. Little Frances would join her sisters Mary Jane ("Suzy") and Dorothy ("Jimmie") in singing in public at two-and-a-half years old, yes--two-and-a-half! 

The girls had become known as "The Gumm Sisters" and Frances would be known as "The Little Girl With The Big Voice".

Check out some early Gumm Sisters recordings (Frances sings lead on "Blue Butterfly" and "Hang on to the Rainbow")

In September of 1935, 13 year old Frances would become 'Judy Garland' when the infamous and powerful Louis B. Mayer signed her to MGM.

She would appear in 31 films for MGM (27 of them were full-length film).

During Judy's early years at MGM, she was merely just one of their young actresses, but her performance of "You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want to Do It)" in MGM's 1937 musical Broadway Melody of 1938 would make her an overnight star. MGM immediately began preparation to cast Judy Garland in the role that would make her a superstar and would lead to her becoming one of MGM's (and Hollywood's) biggest box office draws.

The Wizard of Oz was one of 1939's (second-place in gross-income, behind Gone With the Wind) many big hits, as well as another film starring Judy and her off-screen buddy, Mickey Rooney called Babes in Arms.

As stated before, almost all films starring Judy Garland were big box office hits and today are considered some of the most beloved films in Hollywood history.


(A personal favorite and very underrated film--Judy's first "non-musical")

Due to some problems with MGM (as stars always had problems with MGM--particularly Louis B. Meyer *eye roll*), Summer Stock would be Judy's last film at Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer.

Ms. Garland would marry five times, but her second marriage to director Vincente Minnelli would bring forth both Judy and Vincent's first child, Liza.

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Her third marriage to David Luft would also give her two children, Lorna and Joey

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Judy Garland's first film after leaving MGM would become my favorite film of hers--A Star is Born. May I interject some of my personality here? Thank you.

Judy was nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award for her work in A Star is Born.

Also nominated for Best Actress was Dorothy Dandridge for her role in Carmen Jones, Audrey Hepburn for role in Sabrina, Jane Wyman in her role for The Lost Weekend, and Grace Kelly for her role in The Country Girl. All bets were on Judy--people were happy for her after she'd suffered so much personal turmoil--depression, suicide attempts, a lot of sad things. She hadn't been in movies for four years and she came back in this film with full force! Her BEST performance in my opinion and a lot of other people's opinions.

Now, as much as I love, love, love Dorothy Dandridge--this Oscar BELONGED to Judy Garland. Her performance brings me nearly to tears every time I watch A Star is Born.

But, Grace Kelly would win the Oscar (I like Grace Kelly too and I think she was very beautiful, but I still have yet to see the movie she won for and even if I did I'm quite sure it wouldn't change my mind).


Judy would go on to do a few movies after A Star is Born and would provide her voice on an animated feature. 

Later in her career she would have nothing but success with albums, tours, television appearances, and a television show!

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Sadly, Mrs. Garland would pass away on June 22, 1969, just a couple of weeks after her 47th birthday of an accidental drug overdose.

She is one of many people who have passed on that I would have loved to have met, but I thank Mrs. Garland for being one of my many inspirations.

Happy Birthday Judy!

My favorite Judy song "The Man That Got Away" from A Star is Born.


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