I believe in the idea of the rainbow. And I've spent my entire life trying to get over it
Born Frances Ethel Gumm, Judy Garland was already a seasoned trouper by the time she starred as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. She had been performing song and dance numbers in a stage and screen act with her two older sisters since she was just six.
She landed a movie contract with the MGM studio, where she was cast to play roles younger than her age due to her relatively small stature. She was paired with Mickey Rooney in a number of successful boy and girl-next-door musicals and was 16 when she was cast as Dorothy.
The Wizard of Oz was critically lauded and became a worldwide hit, propelling Judy from child stardom to fully-fledged Hollywood royalty.
Yet Judy did not find the demands of her schedule or pressures of fame easy. She suffered anxieties and health problems that led her to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.
Yet the dark periods of her life were punctuated by glittering comebacks, sell-out radio shows, concert tours and, in 1954, as the lead in Hollywood musical, A Star is Born. A recording of her sell-out show at New York’s Carnegie Hall won four Grammy awards. In the 1960s she signed what was, at the time, hailed to be TV’s biggest ever deal, with a multi-million dollar signing to front her own show.
Married five times, Judy’s daughters Lorna Luft and Liza Minnelli would go on to achieve their own showbusiness success. But Judy did not live to see Liza take on the iconic Cabaret role that made her a star.
Judy was just 47 when she was found dead in the London home she shared with musician and entrepreneur Mickey Deans, whom she’d married three months earlier.
An iconic figure whose life has inspired many films and musical tributes, her movies, music and legend lives on.