The legendary lifestyle of Judy Garland and her favorite beauty products you can still buy today
Who is Judy Garland, and what made her life so tragic?
Judy was the face of “The Wizard of Oz,” one of the most culturally significant and profitable films of all time. But little do we know that her name wasn’t always “Judy Garland.” Yes, it wasn’t. Her birth name was: Frances Ethel Gumm.
Frances, also known by the world as “Judy,” was an Oscar-winning actress who starred as Dorothy Gale. Everywhere Judy went, it was lights, camera, fame, and action. However, living a life as a symbol was draining.
Judy Garland was impoverished, virtually homeless, and owed thousands in unpaid taxes to the IRS when she was in her 40s, in the late 1960s. She was able to support herself by singing in bars for $100 per night. She was suicidal and depressed as a result of a string of ailments.
And so, what happened? What caused one of Hollywood’s brightest lights to fade so quickly? Here is the tragic story of Judy Garland:
Judy Garland was raised by a demanding theatrical mother who only cared about her career. Judy Garland’s early success was the result of years of planning by her mother, Ethel Gumm.
Ethel Gumm was a former vaudeville performer. She encouraged Judy’s sisters to pursue careers in show business. Still, her mom saw that Judy Garland was the most talented. And so, she harnessed those talents in the most abusive way possible. Judy Garland even referred to her mother as “the genuine Wicked Witch of the West.” A reference to the villain from The Wizard of Oz. When Judy started touring, Ethel Gumm began giving Judy sleeping medications at the age of ten to help her sleep while on the road as a soloist.
In a 1967 interview with Barbara Walters, Judy Garland revealed that her mother was a “mean” stage mother. “She was envious since she lacked any talent,” she explained. “‘You get out and sing, or I’ll wrap you around the bedpost and break you off short!’ Her mom would threaten her if she weren’t feeling well.”
Every day from age 10, Judy was already working. She was a kid with big girl problems. Additionally, Judy Garland’s studio was starving her.
When she was signed to MGM at the age of 13, Judy was taken aback by the producers because her stunning singing voice made an impression. Yes, she was talented, and she was given a big break because of her golden voice! But instead of her hopes coming true, Garland suddenly found herself in the middle of a nightmare.
Her treatment at the studio was brutal. Judy Garland’s eating habits were closely scrutinized by the studio, which was concerned about her weight. Food was frequently taken away from her, leaving her hungry all of the time. And this also made her self-conscious about her appearance for the rest of her life. Yes, this was just one of the heinous ways in which Old Hollywood studios mistreated actors.
Weight was a problem, even for a growing 13-year-old.
Judy Garland was also referred to as “the ugly duckling” of the industry. She was also forced to take medications by the studio. And this spiralled into a lifelong addiction to drugs while working in MGM Studio.
Back then, the company would frequently push its performers beyond their limits, and Judy Garland would work 18-hour, six days a week on almost every occasion. The studio would give the young Judy Garland pills to keep her going and keep her skinny. She was also given stimulants to keep her awake and sleeping drugs to help her sleep.
And so, who could not get addicted to these pills? At the age of 13? That doesn’t sound right. They would run her as if she were a clock.
In later years, Judy Garland was sexually harassed on multiple occasions. She had been propositioned for sex since she was 16 years old. In fact, Louis B. Mayer, the studio’s head, complimented her voice by resting his hand on her left breast. Ostensibly touching her heart, which he claimed she sang from.
Judy Garland claimed she was abused by at least one other studio boss, whom she did not identify. When Judy Garland turned down his advances, she claims “he started yelling” and threatened to ruin her career, saying, “I’ll shatter you if it’s the last thing I do.” A predator was chasing a mouse. That’s how life was during her teenage years.
It does not stop there. Judy Garland had a lousy love life! She married five times because she was desperate for love. She married composer David Rose in 1941 when she was 19 years old. Judy Garland had also fallen pregnant but had to get an abortion. Although abortion was still illegal at the time, Judy Garland’s mother and her studio, MGM, arranged for the surgery to be performed secretly.
Abortions were widespread in Hollywood at the time, as studios didn’t want to tarnish their performers’ reputations as sex symbols or, in her case, child stars. Many of Judy Garland’s colleagues had abortions to save their acting careers, including Bette Davis and Ava Gardner.
Either way, Judy Garland and Rose married on the spur of the moment in Las Vegas, but their union was short-lived. In 1944, they divorced. Again, she married her second husband, filmmaker Vincente Minnelli, the following year. Liza, their daughter, was born, and she thought they would be happy. However, their marriage was likewise short-lived. In 1951, Minnelli and Judy Garland divorced. Next, Judy Garland married businessman Sid Luft a year later, and they had two children, Joey and Lorna. But her challenges do not stop there.
Judy Garland’s tragic background, along with her drug addiction, caused her adult life to be filled with turbulence. Her negative self-image wasn’t the only thing that kept her on the pills; it was also an excuse to keep taking them. She also suffered from postpartum depression. She has been prescribed more medication and the medications she was previously taking.
She had attempted to take her life twice after being sacked from MGM in 1950. Her despair contributed to the tension that led to her divorce from her second husband and to her third.
Sid Luft claimed that Garland attempted to take her life 20 times during their 13-year marriage. In 1965, they divorced.
Judy Garland claimed that her fourth husband, actor Mark Herron, had hit her. The two had only been married for a few months before they divorced. But, Mark Herron was also attracted to men and eventually had a long-term relationship with another actor.
Last but not least is Mickey Deans, her fifth husband. But Judy Garland’s status and fortune were waning as she neared the conclusion of her career. On June 22, 1969, Judy Garland passed away in her London home. She had accidentally overdosed on a barbiturate and was only 46 years old.
If you think she had taken her own life because she was depressed during her last few months, Judy appeared to be in a good mood the night before she was discovered dead. Mickey Deans, her fifth husband, loved her so dearly. She said, “Finally, finally, I am loved,” the actress said, finally getting everything she desired.
Unfortunately, three months into their marriage, Mickey Deans discovered Judy dead in their bathroom. Her outstanding talents and weaknesses made her one of the most enduringly adored Hollywood icons of the twentieth century, with 22,000 people attending her funeral in New York City.
As for her fifth husband, surprisingly, Micky Deans never remarried. A sad story because if Judy had not died, they could have still been together. It turns out her fifth marriage could have been her happily ever after.