Judy Garland

Judy Garland Judy Garland was one of the most talented actress/singers of the 1940's. Judy received a special Academy Award and was nominated for two others. She stared in thirty of her own television shows which earned ten Emmy Award nominations. She also received five Grammys for her dozen record albums. Perhaps it was her stardom that ended her life early, Judy died of an overdose of sleeping pills just two weeks after her forty-seventh birthday. It was determined an accidental death, but controversy still remains. Judy was so good at what she did, but illness and drugs kept her from her best. Bing Crosby once said, "There wasn't a thing that gal couldn't do, except take care of herself. The greatest shock about her death was that there was no shock. One simply wonders how she lived so long." Judy was married five times. Some would say the men in her life were the source of Judy's trouble. Judy's first husband was David Rose, an English pianist. They married in 1941, Judy was nineteen. The marriage was never for love, Judy simply wanted to escape her mother, Judy thought her much too strict. She escaped her mother, but the marriage was not much of an improvement. Rose was critical of Judy's singing and constantly tried to improve her. This infuriated Judy and only made her more self-conscious. Judy's second husband was Vincente Minnelli, a director. They married in 1945, Judy was twenty-three. Judy was already having troubles at work, and her agents pushed her into the marriage to settle her down. She and Vincente had one daughter, Liza. It was during this marriage that Judy began taking Benzedrine, prescribed by her doctors to help her keep up with the heavy work load MGM gave her. It was not known back then but Benzedrine is highly addictive. Judy was soon abusing it. She would take so many they would keep her up at night so she also began abusing sleeping pills. Judy was in and out of rehab throughout the marriage. Judy's drug problems put a strain on her marriage which wasn't that stable to begin with. Judy married a third time in 1952 and gave birth to a second daughter, Lorna, in the same year. She had her third and last child, Joey Luft, in 1955. By this time Judy's career was suffering from the drugs and she also was developing a drinking problem. She and Luft were in constant battles over money. They both blamed each other for their financial problems. When they divorced they aired their dirty laundry in court over custody of the children. Garland accused Luft of physically and mentally abusing her. Luft called Judy incompetent and unable to care for the children. Judy took a fourth husband, Mark Herron, in 1964. Judy was forty-two and Herron was thirty-one. During this marriage Judy became severely depressed and attempted suicide several times. Herron had no job. Judy supported him and they squandered money they didn't have on luxuries. The marriage lasted about a year. Judy's fifth husband, Mickey Deans, was much like Herron. They were both young drifters that latched onto the vulnerable Garland. She fought with Deans constantly sometimes on stage at her concerts. Her voice was unstable, hoarse and raspy. She couldn't remember the words to her songs, and she was either late or absent from her concerts. Right before Judy died she and Deans had a terrible fight. She ran from the house they were staying in screaming. Deans left and when he returned she was dead. Judy blamed many of her problems on her early fame, and on MGM. She started performing with her family when she was three. She signed with MGM at twelve, and achieved fame at sixteen. MGM kept her on a tight schedule. When she became pregnant by her first husband, David Rose, the studio would not push back the filming of her next picture. They pressured Judy into an abortion with threats of ending her career. As she became more popular her schedule got more hectic. She was late for appointments and constantly on edge. The studio sent her to doctors and psychiatrists who prescribed the Benzedrine and sleeping pills. The stress of her schedule only increased, and Judy was late or absent daily. She was also developing a volatile temper, perhaps caused by the drugs. It was a lot to ask of anyone, and it was impossible for a teenager strung out on drugs. She was finally fired from MGM in 1949. This outraged her. When she received the news she began yelling and crying to her husband, Minnelli. She then locked herself in the bathroom and attempted to slice her neck with a broken bottle. Minnelli was able to stop her in time. Her career certainly wasn't over yet, she had many more successes. But her attitude and personal problems were common knowledge in Hollywood. It kept her from many opportunities. Towards the end of her life even her fans, who were always supportive of her, started to abandon her. Her concerts weren't packed anymore because she rarely showed for them. She was severely depressed towards the end of her life and her death may have been a suicide. Judy had many health problems throughout her life. Some suspected she had anorexia due to her rapid weight loss in 1962. Judy was also thought to be an alcoholic. There were many instances in which Judy was seen on stage or in public obviously drunk or drugged. At the concerts she would forget words and stop to talk or yell at the audiences. Judy's fame led to stress. To deal with the stress she turned to drugs and became addicted. The drugs affected her personal life and her temperament. They led to the demise of her career. I don't think that Garland was crazy. She was depressed and scared of losing her fame. She never felt good enough and constantly compared herself to other stars. She needed the proper treatment for her depression and her drug habit. She was too young to have the pressure of supporting her parents and sisters on her shoulders. She needed a less hectic schedule she was too young and it all happened too fast for her. She was extremely self-conscious. She had to have constant reassurance. Judy was very talented and it's a shame her life ended so early.

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