One of the brightest, most tragic movie stars of Hollywood's Golden Era, Judy Garland was a much-loved character whose warmth and spirit, along with her rich and exuberant voice, kept theatre-goers entertained with an array of delightful musicals. She was of English, along with some Scottish and Irish, descent. Her mother, an ambitious woman gifted in playing various musical instruments, saw the potential in her daughter at the tender age of just 2 years old when Baby Frances repeatedly sang "Jingle Bells" until she was dragged from the stage kicking and screaming during one of their Christmas shows and immediately drafted her into a dance act, entitled "The Gumm Sisters", along with her older sisters Mary Jane Gumm and Virginia Gumm. However, knowing that her youngest daughter would eventually become the biggest star, Ethel soon took Frances out of the act and together they traveled across America where she would perform in nightclubs, cabarets, hotels and theaters solo. Her family life was not a happy one, largely because of her mother's drive for her to succeed as a performer and also her father's closeted homosexuality. The Gumm family would regularly be forced to leave town owing to her father's illicit affairs with other men, and from time to time they would be reduced to living out of their automobile. However, in September the Gumms', in particular Ethel's, prayers were answered when Frances was signed by Louis B. Mayer , mogul of leading film studio MGM, after hearing her sing. It was then that her name was changed from Frances Gumm to Judy Garland , after a popular '30s song "Judy" and film critic Robert Garland.
Read More From TIME
Born Frances Gumm, Garland was the daughter of former vaudevillians who operated a theatre in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Garland died from an accidental barbiturate overdose in London on June 22, , less than two weeks after her 47th birthday. Her exceptional talents and vulnerabilities had made her one of the most enduringly popular Hollywood icons of the 20th century, and her funeral in New York City drew some 22, mourners. In —by that time a year-old singing sensation—she received her first rave review from the entertainment news magazine Variety , and two years later, at the suggestion of the comedian George Jessel , she adopted the surname Garland.
Who Was Judy Garland?
Subscriber Account active since. Source: Insider. Source: The New York Times. Source: Biography. Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica.
With a career spanning 45 years, she attained international stardom as an actress in both musical and dramatic roles, as a recording artist, and on the concert stage. Garland began performing in vaudeville as a child with her two older sisters and was later signed to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as a teenager. Garland was a frequent on-screen partner of both Mickey Rooney and Gene Kelly and regularly collaborated with director and second husband Vincente Minnelli. Other film appearances during this period include roles in Meet Me in St. Garland was released from MGM in , after 15 years with the studio, amid a series of personal struggles that prevented her from fulfilling the terms of her contract. Although her film career became intermittent thereafter, two of Garland's most critically acclaimed roles came later in her career: she received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in A Star Is Born and a nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Judgment at Nuremberg She also made record-breaking concert appearances, released eight studio albums , and hosted her own Emmy -nominated television series, The Judy Garland Show — At age 39, Garland became the youngest and first female recipient of the Cecil B.