Thursday, 15 November 2012

The Inspiration - Judy Garland

So I thought I would try a different kind of blog entry. As you may have noticed, I am fascinated by old movies, especially the musical movies made in the 1940s-1950s. They just made movies so different back then - they had so much heart and soul, colour and life. I've often wanted to read up about the actors and actresses that appear in these movies. What was their real life like away from the cameras? How did they become famous?

So I thought I'd start with one of my favourites: Judy Garland. I love her, mainly because The Wizard of Oz is my absolute favourite childhood movie, and also the reason for my love of shoes.  So here's some information about Judy that you might not know. 

Judy Garland, an American actress, singer and vaudevillian, was born on June 10, 1922. Despite her professional triumphs, Garland struggled immensely in her personal life, starting from when she was a child.  Her original name was Frances Gumm, but she was called "Baby" by her parents and sisters,
Mary Jane and Dorothy Virginia. Judy's two sisters shared her talent for singing and dancing, and while still young they performed as the "The Gumm Sisters" for a number of years.

 The Gumm Sisters

After being erroneously billed as the "The Glum Sisters" in Chicago, they changed their name to the Garland Sisters in 1934. Frances changed her name to "Judy" soon afterwards, inspired by a popular Hoagy Carmichael song.

Busby Berkeley was asked by Louis B. Mayer to go downtown to the Orpheum Theater, to watch the Gumm Sisters vaudeville act, and to report back to him. Afterwards, Judy and her mother were brought into the studio for an interview with Mayer and Berkeley. In 1935, at the age of 13, Garland signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. At only 4 feet 11.5 inches (151.1 cm), her "cute" or "girl next door" looks did not exemplify the more glamorous persona required of leading ladies at the time. She was self-conscious and anxious about her appearance. She felt unattractive, the "ugly duckling" of the studio. Apparently Mayer referred to her as his "little hunchback".

Judy Garland worked for nearly forty-five of her forty-seven years and made 32 feature films. The Wizard of Oz is undoubtedly Garland's most famous movie. It was bought with the intention of having Judy Garland play Dorothy, but then executives switched it to Shirley Temple after Judy had already been given the role. Fox would not release Shirley Temple from her contract, nor could she hit the notes in the songs. 
Garland was 17 years old when she played Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

She was nominated for a Golden Globe and Academy award for the movie A Star is Born.

She married 5 times: David Rose (married 1941), Vincente Minnelli (married 1945), Sid Luft (married 1952), Mark Herron (married 1965), and Mickey Deans (married 1969). Her first four marriages ended in divorce. She was plagued by financial instability, often owing hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes. She also had a long battle with drugs and alcohol, which ultimately led to her death at the age of 47.

“Over the Rainbow”, the song which Garland is most famous for, was almost cut from the movie. Some executives from MGM thought the film was too long and wanted this removed. They thought it slowed down the action too early in the movie.

"(MGM) had us working days and nights on end. They`d give us pep-up pills to keep us on our feet long after we were exhausted. Then they`d take us to the studio hospital and knock us cold with sleeping pills... Then after four hours they`d wake us up and give us the pep-up pills again so we could work another seventy-two hours in a row."

"In the silence of night I have often wished for just a few words of love from one man, rather than the applause of thousands of people."

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else."

"I wanted to believe and I tried my damnedest to believe in the rainbow that I tried to get over and couldn`t. So what? Lots of people can`t..."
  "If I am a legend, then why am I so lonely?"

Until next time :)

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