This blog post was originally written for a speech class. We had to write a speech for a person, either famous or non-famous, alive or dead. Today is the 46th anniversary of her untimely death.
Today, we reflect upon and say goodbye to a woman of immense talent, and who has captivated countless numbers of people around the world. In her signature song, she sang about looking to a life beyond your own reality. While her achievements were just as great as her struggles, what’s most important is the good parts of her life. That woman is Judy Garland.
Like most icons, Judy Garland had humble beginnings. She was born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota 1922 to father Frank Gumm, and mother Ethel Gumm, and she was named after the both of them: Frances Ethel Gumm. She had two older sisters:Mary Jane Gumm and Dorothy Virginia Gumm.
Judy was a star from almost the very beginning; at the age of two-and-a-half, she made her first public performance, singing “Jingle Bells.” (Shipman, 1993, p. 12). In 1926, the family moved to California, where Ethel began working very hard to make her three daughters stars. The trio began performing publicly as the Gumm Sisters. Eventually their name was changed to the Garland Sisters, but Judy who was nicknamed Baby, due to being the youngest, wished to create a more distinguished identity for herself, and adopted the name, Judy.
Hard work paid off, and Judy secured a contract with MGM in 1935. However, things would not be happy forever. Judy’s father died that same year, leaving her devastated.
Over the next few years, Judy worked long hours on films, and then things went up from there when she received her most iconic role: Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz which was release in 1939. This film along with the song “Over the Rainbow” touched many people with its message of the importance of creating a better life for oneself.
For the next decade, Judy was a big star, but the long hours and other personal struggles made things difficult. There were some good parts. She married Vincente Minnelli who directed her in Meet Me in St. Louis, and they had a daughter named Liza. This marriage would end, but Judy moved on with her life.
In 1950, Judy left MGM, finding their demands to be too much to bear; nonetheless, she started a new chapter with her life when Sid Luft arranged for her to begin performing on stage the following year. These performances were hugely successful. Judy performed at the Palace in New York City, for over twenty weeks, and she received special Tony Award. Judy and Sid would get married in 1952 and they had daughter Lorna and son Joe.
I will leave you with this: Judy Garland struggled with life. But she has left a legacy that will be remembered and treasured for all time.
Judy Garland. (2015). The Biography.com website. Retrieved 01:51, Apr 06, 2015, from http://www.biography.com/people/judy-garland-9306838.
Shipman, D. (1993). Judy Garland: The secret life of an American legend. New York: Hyperion.