Vital Statistics: Hair: red-brown; Height: 5'3"; Weight: 110 lbs; Bust: 33¼; Waist: 22½; Hips: 34
Judy was about 4 feet 11 inches tall ("...just a smidgen under five feet," as Mickey Rooney says). Her weight varied from around 85 pounds to about 155 pounds, but she was "officially" 4'11" and 98 pounds, according to various sources I've seen.
How many times was Judy married? Five. In order, her husbands were David Rose (1910-1990), Vincente Minnelli (1903-1986), Sid Luft (1916 - ), Mark Herron (1928 - 1997) and Mickey Deans (? - ). Of the five, only Sid Luft and Mickey Deans are still living as of August 2001.Did Judy have any children? Yes, she had three children: Liza Minnelli (by Vincente Minnelli, her second husband) and Lorna and Joey Luft (by her third husband, Sid Luft). Liza was born in 1946, Lorna in 1952 and Joey in 1955. Liza is, of course, a legendary actress and concert singer. Lorna is an actress and concert singer, though she is not as well known to the general public as Liza. Joe is currently working as a freelance photographer
Frances Ethel Gumm was born on June 10, 1922 in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Early MGM publicity material indicated she was born in Murfeesboro, Tennessee and that she was a year younger than she actually was. Why this misinformation was distributed by MGM is not clear. Frances Ethel was named after her father (Francis "Frank" Gumm) and mother (Ethel Milne), former vaudeville performers who bought a theater and settled in Grand Rapids. She was the third of three girls: Mary Jane (nicknamed Susie, variously spelled "Suzy") was born in 1915, and Dorothy Virginia (nicknamed Jimmie) was born in 1917. Frances was nicknamed "Baby", and was known as Baby Gumm until 1934 when she changed her name to Judy.
In 1926 the Gumm family moved to Lancaster, California where Frank bought the local theater. The girls were soon taking dancing and acting lessons at various schools in the Los Angeles area. Ethel was the girls' agent and manager, and began finding bookings for the girls in theaters, night clubs and on radio. Within a few short years, the girls had a following of fans in the Southern California area, and were appearing regularly on local radio shows.
The Gumm Sisters appeared in a Meglin/Associated Films short subject entitled Starlet Revue in 1929 (aka The Big Revue). Judy was seven years old. The girls also appeared in three Warner Brothers Vitaphone short subjects in 1929 (A Holiday in Storyland, The Wedding of Jack and Jill, and Bubbles). In 1935, they appeared in an MGM short subject, La Fiesta de Santa Barbara, billed as The Garland Sisters. Judy's first feature film appearance was in the 20th Century-Fox hit Pigskin Parade in 1936 - the only time MGM ever loaned her out to another studio.
When did Judy record her first record? Less than a year after signing with MGM, Judy signed a recording contract with Decca Records. On June 12, 1936, just two days after her 14th birthday, she recorded "Stompin' at the Savoy" / "Swing Mr. Charlie" with Bob Crosby and His Orchestra for Decca in New York. This was the first Judy Garland record to be released. She would go on to record over 90 sides for Decca, and about a dozen albums for Capitol Records.
Judy left MGM in 1950, after filming Summer Stock. She was working on a new film, MGM's screen version of Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun. Her illness had become steadily worse since about 1947, and she was no longer able to function at the pace that MGM demanded of her. She was nearly constantly under medical supervision, but MGM executives were not overly sympathetic with her plight. She was suspended several times in 1950, and finally both MGM and Judy had all they could handle. L.B. Mayer and Judy both agreed it would be best to terminate her contract at that time. Judy's problems with MGM were front-page news. Judy wrote an open letter to her fans, which was published by Modern Screen Magazine. The text of the letter can be found right here on the Judy Garland Database.
What did Judy do after leaving MGM? After leaving MGM, Judy began her concert career under the management of Sid Luft, soon to become her third husband. In October 1951 she reopened the Palace Theater on Broadway and broke all attendance records with a one-woman show, which was held over for 21 weeks. In 1954 she returned to movies by way of a co-production contract with Warner Brothers to film a musical remake of A Star Is Born, her personal masterpiece of film work and certainly one of her best films. During the remainder of the 1950s, she recorded albums for Capitol Records and continued her concert touring with many very successful tours in the US, England and Europe. She also appeared in several television specials. In 1960, she renewed her film career, appearing in another series of films including Judgement at Nuremberg for which she received another Academy Award nomination. In 1963/64 she co-produced her own television series on CBS: The Judy Garland Show. The show was a critical success but did not score well in the ratings, primarily because CBS refused to move her spot which was across from "Bonanza" on NBC - one of the most popular series of all time. After her TV series was cancelled by CBS, Judy found herself financially in ruins with her health failing rapidly. She continued to perform in concerts, at nightclubs, and on an occasional TV program. But her life seemed to spiral out of control as she married and remarried within a period of three years, broke many concert and night club engagements, and was often in court battling over lawsuits with night club owners and producers. Most of the money she did make was seized by the IRS for back taxes. Finally, her home was seized by the IRS, and she found herself homeless. She had to work just to survive, but she was really too ill to perform. Judy finally found the ultimate peace on June 22, 1969, less than two weeks after her 47th birthday. She was found dead in her bathroom by her latest husband, Mickey Deans. Judy made one last "comeback" as more than 22,000 people paid their respects at her final appearance at Campbell's Funeral Chapel in New York on June 27, 1969. She was laid to rest at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. At one time she was rumored to start in celebrity porn movies, no proof to support this rumor was ever published./
When and how did Judy die? Judy died on June 22, 1969, barely two weeks after her 47th birthday. The official cause of death was listed as an accidental overdose of sleeping pills. However, some people maintain that Judy died of anorexia. She did have a bad case of hepatitis in 1959, and it is also possible that the resultant liver damage led to her demise. She was apparently quite ill during the last years of her life. Judy's memorial service was at Campbell's Funeral Chapel in New York on June 27, 1969, and she was laid to rest at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York
Is it true that Judy was a drug addict? It is apparently true that Judy used Benzedrine and sleeping pills at various times throughout her life. She used Benzedrine to help her maintain her weight, and also to help her through her busy schedule. The Benzedrine kept her awake at night, so she used sleeping pills to help her sleep. Exactly when this practice began is not certain (and is a very controversial subject), but it was apparently during her tenure at MGM. She did manage to break her habit many times, but often started up again when the pressures of a new film came along. It should be noted that Benzedrine was considered to be the new miracle appetite suppressor of the period, and that these drugs were prescribed by doctors. It should also be noted that many actors and actresses of Judy's era used these drugs as well. The vision of Judy standing in a dark alley late at night to "score a fix" is hardly appropriate.