The Entertaining Judy Garland

Jun 10, 2014 | 1:43 PM

GARLAND, JUDY

Judy Garland

 

Oh, glorious Judy Garland!!!! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

 

Today would’ve been the uber-talented Judy Garland’s 92nd birthday. Of course, most of us first fell in love with her when she was still a teenager starring inThe Wizard of Oz.

Wizard of Oz

 

Even though Garland’s light was sadly extinguished at the premature age of 47, she nevertheless packed a wallop into her time on earth.

 

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Born Frances Gumm, she started singing with her two sisters at in a trio called The Gumm Sisters, which became The Garland Sisters in the early ‘30s. Inspired by a popular Hoagy Carmichael tune, Frances changed her name to “Judy” soon after. They sang together until 1935, after her sister Suzanne flew to Reno and eloped.

 

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Those fabulous Gumm Sisters circa 1930

 

The end of that era certainly didn’t stop Judy! She was discovered by Busby Berkeley, who snatched up her big voice and girl-next-door charm on behalf of MGM studios. And the rest, as they say, is history.

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Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

 

JudyGarlandActress

Ziegfeld Follies (1945)

 

Of course, the fact that Judy was also a well-trained comedienne with impeccable timing didn’t hurt. Her parents were vaudevillians who ran a theater in Grand Rapids, Michigan, so she was on stage before she was even three.

 

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A young Frances performing at her parents’ theater

 

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Judy Garland and Fred Astaire as vaudevillian tramps in Easter Parade (1948)

 

She even hosted her own TV variety show that regularly featured some pretty impressive guest stars.

 

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Dean Martin, Garland, and Frank Sinatra perform on The Judy Garland Show (1963-1964)

 

Despite the fact she was tiny (she didn’t even clear 5 feet!), there was a lot of on-screen gravitas in that pint-sized package. Even though film executives at the time said they often struggled to make her physical appearance marketable, she was a photogenic stunner with charisma and sex appeal to spare.

 

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MGM Publicity Shot (1945)

 

In her brief life, she won an Academy Award (and earned several nominations), a Golden Globe, multiple Grammys, and a Tony. She is still the youngest-ever winner of the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award, which she took home before she even turned 40!

 

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Winning an Oscar for The Wizard of Oz in 1940

 

And look at her holding her own with Hollywood’s A-list men!

 

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with Fred Astaire in Easter Parade

 

 

Judy Gene The Pirate

romancing Gene Kelly in The Pirate (1948)

 

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on the beach with James Mason in A Star is Born (1954)

 

Fred Astaire, one of Judy’s co-stars, called everyone’s favorite singing and dancing diva, “the greatest entertainer who ever lived.”

 

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Okay. I’m done with my homage. It’s your turn now. Tell me: why do you love Judy?

 

xo,

 

Isabel

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