Almost everyone recognizes the chords of the magical song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and they can easily tell you that the song had its debut in the film The Wizard of Oz. More can tell you that the famous ruby red slippers were donned by Judy Garland portraying the character of Dorothy Gale. The character of Dorothy was one of beautiful innocence and immersed herself completely within the fantasy land of Oz. However Judy's life was anything but fantasy; it was one filled with heartbreak and pain. Eventually, after enduring several years of sadness, she found a fleeting happiness and peace.
Judy was born in 1922 in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. The roaring twenties provided fame to many hopefuls and Hollywood was pumping out movies right and left. Judy's parents dreamed that their three daughters would find fame, so they packed up and moved to California. However, it was only Judy who succeeded when the family got there. She quickly impressed the executives at MGM with her quick humor, and her mature voice. They cast her in many mini-musicals until she finally landed the role that would make her a legend in movie history. Despite the movie becoming very well-known, even today, when it premiered in 1939 it was a box-office flop, a fact that greatly discouraged Judy. This lack of self confidence, combined with the fact that her short stature showed any weight she gained, led her to troubles with MGM, pills, and depression: in the end this pathway ultimatley contributed to her demise.
Although she is most well-known for her role in The Wizard of Oz, Judy made many other movies under the MGM label including Meet Me in St. Louis, in which the song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" premiered, and Easter Parade. When her health started to deteriorate she eventually stopped making films and focused on performing in concert at the London Palladium and the Palace. Her powerful voice commanded the audiences attention and rang throughout the huge halls of loving fans. It was said many times by an innumerable amount of fans that seeing Judy perform live was a breathtaking and memorable experience.
Despite having a tremendously successful career her personal life was rocky. Judy was married five times, divorced four times, and eventually had three children: Liza Minnelli, Lorna and Joey Luft. Throughout the years she struggled with her weight and became addicted to perscription pills. She was plagued by financial instability throughout her life and made atleast one suicide attempt. Her life of stress and depresssion, combined with her addiction, lead her to an early death: she passed away on June 22, 1969 at the young age of 47.
Although Judy struggled throughout her life she left a legacy that will not be soon forgotten. Her legacy continues with an upcoming movie of her life in the works and Anne Hathaway has been slated to portray Judy herself. Even today, decades after her death, Judy is still known for her tremendous voice, gorgeous looks and fantastic style. She had a special talent of making the world feel good, through both her personality and her voice, even when she was struggling. This trait is rare in today's world and it is the reason that even today Judy is remembered, honored, and loved.