Today marks the 46 year anniversary of Judy Garland's tragic death in 1969
Judy Garland once famously deadpanned: ‘I was born at the age of twelve on an MGM lot.’ The joke wasn’t so far removed from reality. Even Garland’s name is an incantation. Her real identity – Frances Ethel Gumm – was shed aged twelve along with her childhood.
Today marks the 46 year anniversary of Judy Garland’s tragic death in 1969. Nearly five decades on, defining Judy in just a few hundred words still seems like an impossible task. There is a Judy for everyone and throughout her career she sung to us in different ways.
Yet despite Hollywood’s relentless grooming, our deepest fascination with this icon lies in her vulnerability and the demons that plagued Garland in later years. Whilst it’s easy to remember a doe-eyed 16-year-old in gingham and pigtails in ‘The Wizard of Oz’, the tap-tap-tap of those ruby slippers and those words – ‘there’s no place like home’ – seem almost painfully prophetic when you consider her lifelong battle with stardom that followed.
When Marie Claire spoke to Look magazine photographer Douglas Kirkland last year, he spoke about this vulnerability and the iconic photographs he took in 1961, when he travelled with her for a month on the road.
‘I said to her on the last day, everyone sees you as dancing and smiling and laughing but there must be another side to it all? Eventually she started truly crying. I had the camera there and I just started taking pictures.’
As Douglas Kirkland painfully revealed, Judy Garland’s life wasn’t always upbeat, but it’s why we still hold this iconic performer so close to our hearts.
To mark 46 years since her death, let’s take a look at her most inspirational quotes and celebrate a truly unique star who still beguiles us:
1. ‘Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.’
2. ‘I was born at the age of twelve on an MGM lot.’
3. ‘I can live without money, but I cannot live without love.’
4. ‘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.’
5. ‘I’ve always taken ‘The Wizard of Oz’ very seriously, you know. I believe in the idea of the rainbow. And I’ve spent my entire life trying to get over it.’
6. ‘I’ve never looked through a keyhole without finding someone was looking back.’