“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else”, is among the infamous quotes of Judy Garland. Given the birth name of Frances Ethel Gumm, she turned out to be a legendary Hollywood actress and singer. Starting her singing career at the age of 2, she accompanied her sisters in the act with their group named The Gumm Sisters. Many people considered Baby Gumm as an overnight singing sensation. Casted to several minor roles, Judy got a chance to stardom, when she hit the role of Dorothy in the movie “The Wizard of Oz”.
The blockbuster film was sponsored by Metro Goldwyn Mayer believing that this sixteen year old girl with a voice of a 30 year old woman would make magic in the wonderful road of tinseltown. The great production MGM spent an amount worth a million dollars on the renowned beloved childhood movie, Wizard of Oz. At an early age, Judy gained hundreds of followers from kids to adults because of her sweet singing voice. The immense triumph of Wizard of Oz earned her the reputation of Hollywood’s favorite girl.
Believing in her saying, “I can live without money, but I cannot live without love”, Garland frequently encountered marriage conflicts and money problems. Judy married at a young age possibly due to the idea that almost all people try to dictate what she would do. The girl with a grown up voice experienced exploitation from the producers, on the fact that she is restricted from having baby which in the end affected her marriage. She collapsed due to overdose of several prescription medicines and too much stress. Her stiff schedules and countless guestings made her physical condition terribly suffered.
After her break-up with first husband, David Rose, her four marriages were all failures. Along with fame, Judy often suffered defeat from weight problem, marriage crisis, monetary and intake of prescription medication. However her hope never crippled and her longing for lasting relationship never stopped. Judy Garland’s big step on the yellow brick road or popularly known as The Wizard of Oz, earned her as sought-after entertainer not only in the United States but worldwide. Her excellent talent for showmanship whether in radio, stage, movie or television brought international recognition.
Her originality and performance style brought an immediate fame. Her vaudeville parents who worked as illustrator and pianist, made her adapt and master the work of stage entertainment which involved slapstick and song-dance performances. Her performances at the Palace Theatre showed us that styles of performance never truly die, they merely hibernate until they are reborn again. Judy Garland’s revival of vaudeville showed us that variety shows are not a thing of the past, rather something that can carry on throughout time with shows such as Saturday Night Live (Brown, 2001.p. 1).
Among her movies were Everybody Sing, Meet me in St. Louis, The Clock, Easter Parade, Summer Stock and many more. However there are downsides of every success, the television series created by CBS named The Judy Garland Show was not a smash hit but served as an exhilarating event during the period of 1960’s given the fact that it produced a hullabaloo of dispute. Judy Garland was to a large extent the prized possession of MGM production. The outstanding musical film, A Star is Born was apparently a classic.
This was another comeback of Judy from emotional and professional turmoil. Her passionate acting and dedication to this outstanding musical gained her an Academy award for best actress. Her portrayal of the protagonist role as Esther Blodgett in this 1954 musical movie was most likely the apex of her career in the movie industry. In the said movie, Norman Maine caught the attention of the musical prowess of the singer Esther Blodgett, played by Judy Garland working with the Glenn Williams Orchestra.
Their meeting resulted to marriage, however along the way, the alcoholic husband Jason made wrong moves making him lose his career and love. It is unswervingly analogous to her real life stage performances so her acting in the movie seemed very effortless and simple. Her passion in singing and acting was completely visible in this musical directed by George Cukor. James Mason played by Norman was by the same token committed to the film nevertheless the movie was entirely for Judy.
It is a remake of William Wellman’s original 1937 film by the same name that starred Janet Gaynor. The emotionally-intense film also hinted at the real-life troubles and problems like five marriages in the career of its female star – a victim of the Hollywood studio system – during the film’s making. Garland’s realistic performance reflected the upheavals in her own personal life that led to her death from a drug overdose (Dirks, 1996, p. 1). The musical illustrated the ups and downs of showbizness and in some way, it directly epitomize the real life of Judy Garland.
Originating from vaudeville style, this singing sensation turned to a great Hollywood star provided much encouragement to many aspiring entertainers and brought so much amusement and inspiration to fans and followers. Judy became a legendary through struggling countless obstacles in terms of emotional, psychological and physical. She still gave total performance in every show inspire of feeling disturbed and stressed due to addiction. Although Judy was primarily known for her singing abilities, she was willing and able to move from stage to radio to screen back to the stage and to television.
Second, people who do not see themselves as performers can learn that nothing is impossible in your quest for what you love (Brown, 2001. p. 1). She is considered a superb performer as well as a great mother to her equally talented daughter, Liza Minnelli.
Brown, T. (2001, August 27). Judy Garland’s Historical Significance. Comm. Retrieved May 23, 2008 from http://www. comm. unt. edu/histofperf/tjbrown/Mill_generic_page_four. htm. Dirks, T. (1996). A Star Is Born (1954). Filmsite. Retrieved May 22, 2008 from http://www. filmsite. org/stari. html.
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