Towards the conclusion of her life, Judy Garland should have been a wealthy woman. After all, Garland was the face of one of cinema’s biggest hits and most iconic films, The Wizard of Oz. For her portrayal of Dorothy Gale in “The Wizard of Oz,” in which she won an Academy Award at age 16, Judy Garland became an iconic figure in the Hollywood landscape.
However, it was destructive to live one’s life as a symbol.
Garland, then in her forties, was nearly homeless in the late 1960s and owed the Internal Revenue Service thousands of dollars in back taxes. She was able to pay her bills by singing in clubs for $100 a night. She had a history of ailments and was at the point of suicide.
In 1967, she openly acknowledged to McCall’s how challenging it was to be Judy Garland as a product of the Hollywood machine, saying, “Do you realize how difficult it is to be Judy Garland?”
And you want to be my roommate? I had no choice; what could be a more unforgiving existence than the one I’ve led up to this point?
The film Judy, about Garland’s life, premieres on September 27 and is set during her legendary 1969 run at London’s Talk of the Town nightclub. Garland overdosed on barbiturates later that year. She had reached the age of 47.
Renee Zellweger, who is an icon in her own right but has a tumultuous history with Hollywood, plays Judy and earns an Oscar nomination for her performance, but she does not simply imitate the famous singer and actress. While Judy is having flashbacks, here’s what happened to Judy Garland.
What Happened To Judy Garland?
When Garland discovered Deans dead in their Belgravia house on June 22, 1969, they were very much a couple.
He entered the room by forcing open the locked door and saw Garland sitting on the toilet with her hands propped over her head.
The Scotland Yard autopsy recorded that Judy Garland’s cause of death was “Barbiturate poisoning incautious self-overdosage. Accidental.”
Dr. Gavin Thurston, the coroner, concluded that Garland had cirrhosis of the liver, most likely brought on by the large amounts of alcohol she had ingested over the course of her life.
“This is quite clearly an accidental circumstance to a person who was accustomed to taking barbiturates over a very long time,” Dr. Thurston said on Judy Garland’s cause of death. “She took more barbiturates than she could tolerate.”
Here is a post tweeted on Judy Garland by Hollywood Yesterday:
Judy Garland pic.twitter.com/kzEmw4AYsE
— ✨Hollywood Yesterday✨ (@HollywoodYeste1) March 21, 2023
Liza Minnelli, Garland’s daughter, saw things otherwise. She believed her mother passed away from tiredness rather than any other cause. Judy Garland’s early death at age 47 was likely due to the exhaustion she felt after a long career in which she felt she was never good enough.
“She let her guard down,” Minnelli said in 1972. “She didn’t die from an overdose. I think she just got tired. She lived like a taut wire. I don’t think she ever looked for real happiness, because she always thought happiness would mean the end.”
The world truly did end when Judy Garland passed away. The termination of her genuine connection with her audience marked the end of an era. This, however, marked the start of her enduring legacy.
Judy Garland Had Five Different Marriages Throughout Her Life
In many ways, Garland’s first marriage was an attempt at independence. Garland married David Rose, a composer, at the age of 19 despite her mother and MGM’s disapproval. Rose was 30 at the time.
She wed actor/director Vincente Minnelli in 1945. They had a daughter named Liza but split up in 1951 after Minnelli’s infidelity became public knowledge. Garland married Sidney Luft again, and the couple had two children.
Actor Mark Herron, her fourth spouse, was gay. Once he became hostile against Garland, she filed for divorce. Herron was in a serious relationship with another actor after his brief marriage to Garland ended.
Mickey Deans, Garland’s ex-husband, first met the actress when he delivered stimulants to her. They had been married for only three short months when she passed away. A coworker named Rosalyn Wilder stated, “He gave in to her and he fed her all the stuff she desired.”
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A Famous Person Has Died
In line at the Frank E. Campbell funeral home to pay their respects to Judy Garland are fans.
Judy Garland’s charisma and ability to relate to her listeners were two of the many reasons she was so popular. In particular, gay men, especially those who came to her later in her career, discovered a kindred spirit in Garland.
Perhaps it was due to the fact that her repeated comebacks symbolized triumph over adversity. Or perhaps her visual appeal resonated with various segments of the homosexual community.
To paraphrase a supporter: “Her audience, we, the LGBT folks, could relate with her…” could identify with the struggles she endured both on and off stage.
The Stonewall Riots in New York City, widely recognized as a watershed moment in the fight for gay rights, occurred at the same time as Garland’s funeral. Some LGBT historians speculate that the loss of Garland may have contributed to an already tense situation between the Stonewall Inn’s gay clientele and the police.
Either way, the grief after Judy Garland’s death was felt worldwide, from fans to her family and friends. Former film partner Mickey Rooney said: “She was a great talent and a great human being. She was — I’m sure — at peace, and has found that rainbow. At least I hope she has.”
Some of Garland’s staying power, like that of other stars whose careers were cut tragically short, such as Marilyn Monroe, can be attributed to the shadow cast by a tragic figure in history.
Garland, like Monroe, is remembered for more than just being a beautiful young star who was taken from us too soon. Judy Garland was an icon whose tale will be told for generations to come.
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