Now Performing in the Rocky Top Theater
167 East Wears Valley Road Suite #17 (Shops of Pigeon Forge) Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Judy Garland was born Francis Ethel Gumm in Grand Rapids Minnesota on June 10th 1922 and died on June 22nd, 1969. Judy Garland was probably best known as Dorthy on the Wizard of OZ.(no relation to Doctor OZ!)
Even though Judy Garland was probably best known for her performance in the Wizard of OZ, she was also was an American actress and singer. Through a career that spanned 45 of her 47 years and for her renowned contralto voice, she attained international stardom as an actress in musical and dramatic roles, as a recording artist and on the concert stage.
After appearing in vaudeville with her two older sisters, Garland was signed to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as a teenager. There she made more than two dozen films, including nine with Mickey Rooney and the 1939 film with which she would be most identified, The Wizard of Oz.
In 1935, when Judy Garland was signed to a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, supposedly without a screen test, even though Judy Garland had made a test for the studio several months earlier. MGM did not know what to do with her, as at age 13 she was older than most of the child stars, but too young for any adult roles. Her physical appearance created a dilemma for MGM. At only 4 feet 11.5 inches, her cute girlish looks did not exemplify the more glamorous persona required of leading ladies of the time. She was self-conscious and anxious about her appearance. Judy Garland went to school at Metro with Ava Gardner, Lana Turner, Elizabeth Taylor.
In 1940, she starred in three films: Andy Hardy Meets Debutante, Strike Up the Band, and Little Nellie Kelly. In the latter, she played her first adult role, a dual role of both mother and daughter. The role was a big challenge for Judy, requiring her to use an accent, she got her first adult kiss, and the only death scene of her career.
Garland began a relationship with musician David Rose, (who was also known for his association with the red Skelton Show), on her 18th birthday, he gave her an engagement ring. The studio intervened because he was still married at the time to the actress and singer Martha Raye. They agreed to wait a year to allow for his divorce from her to become final, and were wed on July 27, 1941. Garland, who had aborted her pregnancy by him in 1942, agreed to a trial separation in January 1943, and they divorced in 1944 Judy Garland was also married to Vincente Minnelli. They were married June 15, 1945 and on March 12, 1946, daughter Liza was born. In 1951, they divorced.
On June 22 1969, Judy Garland was found dead in the bathroom of their rented house in Chelsea, London. At the subsequent inquest, coroner Gavin Thursdon stated that the cause of death was "an incautious self-overdosage" of barbiturates. Judy Garlands blood contained the equivalent of ten 1.5-grain capsules. Thursdon stressed that the overdose had been unintentional and that there was no evidence to suggest she had committed suicide. Her autopsy showed that there was no inflammation of her stomach lining and no drug residue in there, which indicated that the drug had been ingested over a long period of time, rather than in one dose. Her death certificate stated that her death had been "accidental."
If you are a fan of Judy Garland and loved watching The Wizard of OZ as a child, then you probably remember watching the old black and white shows from the 50's and 60's.
Next time you are in Pigeon Forge, take an afternoon and re-live the great memories from the Red Skelton show by attending Brian Hoffman's Remembering Red - A Tribute to Red Skelton.
CLICK HERE or on the Show Schedule link above to make reservations to see the show.
"Goodnight now and may God bless"
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