Many mourned the death of Judy Garland, who was 47 when she died of a drug overdose in 1969 following a long battle with addiction. Her death was a lot like her life, unfortunately.
In 1962, Judy Garland lamented, “I’m usually presented as a more sad figure than I am.” When I think of myself as a tragic figure, I get a little tired of it. However, her untimely demise in the summer of 1969 sealed her tragic history.
Despite her age, Judy Garland had already experienced a number of different lives. Garland’s personal and professional journey from child star to leading woman to LGBT legend was a roller coaster of highs and lows..
Before her death, Garland had established herself as a Hollywood legend through her roles in The Wizard of Oz and Summer Stock. Garland’s inner life was as unsteady as her signature vibrato, despite the heroines she played from the 1930s to the 1950s.
“It’s like living in a blizzard,” she once said. The blizzard was “absolute.” Indeed, Garland was as familiar with agony, addiction, and self-doubt as her adoring fans, particularly at the end of her life.
Judy, starring Renée Zellweger, covers these final days in London, yet even the songbird’s own beloved medium of film can hardly depict the horror of Judy Garland’s death.
It is even more heartbreaking to learn the real tale behind the film Judy.
Made to Be Performed
Judy Garland’s early life evoked images that appeared as though they were taken straight out of a much gloomier film than the upbeat and positive movies in which she typically performed.
Frances Garland Gumm was born into a vaudeville family, and Garland’s mother was a textbook example of a stage mother. Ethel Gumm was known to be a demanding and sometimes critical individual. When her daughter was just 10 years old, she supposedly was the first person to give her daughter medications to bring her down after she had performed on stage. These pills were intended to give her daughter extra energy for the performance.
Unfortunately, substance addiction became a significant part of the actress’s life almost immediately after it began. Her performances for the camera at MGM were often livened up by amphetamines, which were one of her first significant crutches and were provided to her by the studio.
MGM actively supported this practise, as well as the starlet’s habit of smoking and abusing appetite suppressants in pill form. In addition, in order to ensure that the burgeoning star could keep up physically with contemporary glamour ladies, the representatives from the studio put young Judy Garland on a stringent diet consisting of chicken soup and black coffee.
It is said that a studio executive said to the aspiring actress, “You look like a hunchback. We are sorry, but you have become so obese that you resemble a monster.
Adolescent girls who were subjected to this level of deprivation and abuse were not likely to develop healthy levels of self-confidence. In spite of the fact that she had leading roles in a number of critically acclaimed films while she was still a child, she started having nervous breakdowns when she was in her 20s.
According to her exe-husband, Sid Luft, she made at least 20 different attempts to end her life throughout the course of her lifetime.
Later on, Luft reflected on what he had said, saying, “I wasn’t thinking of Judy as a mentally ill person, or This is an addict.” I was terrified that something terrible had happened to the lovely and intelligent woman who I cherished.
Garland did, however, struggle with a number of different addictions. In spite of her successful career in the 1940s and 1950s, which included her adaptation of the classic film “A Star Is Born,” her many addictions eventually caught up with her and led to her downfall.
As the film Judy so tragically demonstrates, these addictions, along with other problems in her personal life, would eventually be the cause of her downfall and bring about her passing.
Judy Garland In London
By the late 1960s, Garland’s substance abuse and emotional problems were becoming a burden not only on her physical condition but also on her financial situation. As Judy demonstrated, she went back to performing on stage in London so that she could provide for herself and her children.
Garland had prior success performing in a concert series in London in the early 50s, and it is possible that he planned to replicate that success when he performed in this series.
Garland proclaimed in 1968 that she was “the queen of the comeback.” “I’m sick of making the same trip over and over again. I truly believe that. I can’t even go to… the ladies’ room without having to make a comeback.
London, on the other hand, did not provide her with the spotless renaissance she required. Her triumphant comeback tour was a miniature representation of the lengthy career of the diva, complete with the same dizzying highs and soul-crushing lows.
When Judy was performing, she had the ability to make the audience fall in love with her in the same manner that they had always done, calling them with her velvety voice that enchanted the entire globe. On the other hand, when she was off, she was unable to disguise it for the audience.
This was demonstrated during a performance in January, when the audience attacked Garland with bread and glasses since she had kept them waiting for an hour.
London may have been Garland’s worst romantic time. Mickey Deans surprised Judy Garland by hiding under a room-service dish.
Garland met her last spouse, a drug courier, in 1966.
The film depicts Garland and Deans’ unhappy marriage. He was apparently with her to make money and enjoy fame.
Lorna Luft remembered that Deans stopped their limousine in Manhattan after Judy’s funeral. She realised he was signing a book contract hours after his wife’s funeral.
Judy Garland Death
On June 22, 1969, Deans discovered Garland’s body in their Belgravia, London, home.
She was slumped over the toilet with her hands still on her head when he smashed into the locked bathroom door.
Toxic poisoning (quinabarbitone) incompetent self-overdose was the cause of Judy Garland’s death, according to the Scotland Yard autopsy. Accidental.”
Dr. Gavin Thurston, the coroner, found evidence of cirrhosis of the liver, possibly related to Garland’s heavy drinking.
“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.”
Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland’s daughter, saw things differently. The exhaustion, she reasoned, was what ultimately killed her mother. Judy Garland’s exhaustion from a lengthy career in front of people, coupled with the constant feeling that she was never good enough, contributed to her death at the age of 47.
“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.”