Judy at Carnegie Hall
- After seven weeks Garland left hospital in
January 1960 and fretted through four months of
convalescence. Her only medication was a mild
tranquilliser though her weight remained a problem.
- After recording an album, Thats Entertainment, for Capitol her self-confidence began to
return and picking up the threads of her social life, she
made friends with John F. Kennedy who was beginning his
campaign for Presidency. She appeared with the Senator at
a Democratic Convention and he took to telephoning her
and asking her to sing Over the Rainbow
- Just the first eight bars,
he would say, and after thanking her, he would tell her
she had made his day.
- With no work being offered in
Hollywood, she flew to London for a vacation - despite
her fear of planes, she wanted to prove to myself
that I could function as a halfway intelligent
woman. Greeted by the Press, she told them: I
feel marvellous since Ive gotten over my
- After recording for Capitol under
Norrie Paramor whom she jokingly called Noilly
Prat, affecting to mispronounce his name, she
decided to settle in London. Sid and her children joined
her in London where she began looking for a house. Her
close friend Dirk Bogarde suggested she return to the London Palladium: Without Hungarians with dogs and
ventriloquists - just you and a whopping big
- Luft worried that it might be too much
for her and booked the Palladium for just
- An Evening With
Judy Garland, booked for
Sunday 28 August 1960, sold out within hours of the box
office opening, presaging another stage in her career -
the concert stage.
Sid Luft: I didnt want her
to work, but she was in such good shape, it was kind of
- Backed by the orchestra of Norrie
Paramour and dressed comfortably in a short black sheath
and blue satin jacket, Garland offered a first act of
twelve songs that ended with Youll Never Walk Alone in tribute to Oscar Hammerstein II
who had died five days earlier.
- For the second act, she was in a
sequinned top and black slacks and did another nineteen
numbers. Despite her nervousness, she was in superb voice
and in full control of her talent and humour.
Unencumbered by dancers and other acts, she could do
Daily Mail: She is one
of the greatest entertainers of our time, a versatile,
volatile, vital personality, a singer of outstanding
original talent . . . and a great clown.
- The performance was repeated the
following Sunday to a capacity house and at the finish
the audience rushed down the aisles to congratulate her.
The crowds waiting in the street didnt want to let
her go home and hundreds sang For Shes a Jolly Good
Fellow as her car drove
- More concerts followed in Paris (she
won eight curtain calls and an embrace on-stage by
Maurice Chevalier), in Amsterdam and on four Sundays at Odeon cinemas in Britain.
- Keeping her promise to John F. Kennedy, she
spent two days in Frankfurt entertaining American troops (pictured right) persuading them to vote: Senator
Kennedy says, and I agree with him, that the important
thing is for absentee Americans to vote one way or the
- She also appeared in another Royal Variety Show at the Palladium.
Dutch Radio: She gets more power
as she goes further into her show. Everyone is walking to
the stage to cheer and applaud, stamping on the floor . .
. They cant get enough.
Reports of her success in Britain
circulated in America and agents Fields and Begelman flew to
London to convince her that she was exactly the talent they
wanted to handle. Since it seemed to be all happening in America,
Garland and her family left England on the last day of 1960 for
an apartment in New York. With Fields and Begelman on hand
Garland no longer needed Sid Luft and they separated. Their
relationship appeared to have exhausted itself on a diet of
domestic warfare, but whatever his faults, Sid was the one man in
Judy Garlands life who both loved her and stood up to her.
- No Broadway producer
would take a chance on her so Freddie Fields arranged a
tour, booking nineteen American concert dates. Fields
also learned through one of his other clients, Marlene
Dietrich, that Stanley Kramer was looking for someone to
play a small, but highly dramatic part of a housewife in
his film Judgement
at Nuremberg. Fields suggested
Garland. Kramer figured he could get a good performance
out of Judy whatever problems might ensue and so she
broke into her tour in March to fit in the filming.
- Weeks before arriving on set she had
studied the accent of a German hausfrau and was punctual
and co-operative during the shooting, probably helped by
the fact that she did not have to carry the entire film.
Nominated for an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress, she lost the Oscar to Rita
Moreno in West
Judy: Damn it, Stanley, I
cant do it. Ive dried up. Im too happy
Stanley Kramer: I
saw staid citizens acting like bobby-soxers at an Elvis
Presley show. I was struck, too, by the tremendous
emotional range of Judys performance . . .
Shes like a piano. You touch any key, and a pure
note of emotion comes out.
Maximilian Schell: Garland is fantastic; every dimension
horseshit, Max - just act the damn scene.
- At Catskills Concord Hotel, the second concert of the tour, the
hotels musical director couldnt handle
Garlands difficult arrangements so Fields and
Begelman persuaded Mort Lindsay, who had given up
conducting to pursue composition, to take over as musical
director. Lindsay was later talked into becoming
Garlands permanent musical director and her
orchestral arranger. Garland had never sung better in her
life, but the better she became, the more she worried
about being up to standard and she began to threaten not
to go on. Sometimes she became angry at being separated
from her children and would cry: I work my ass off,
making money for everybody and cant even have my
children with me.
Mort Lindsay: People would say Judy
was difficult. I found her easier to work with than
anybody. She appreciated what you did; she made your
stuff come alive - even more that youd hope.
the apex of her adult career when she arrived at Carnegie Hall on 23 April 1961. The word had gone out
that she was completely in control of her talent again
and tickets had been sold out within hours of going on
sale. By eight oclock the streets around 7th Avenue
and 57th Street were jammed. The audience of 3,165
included nearly all of Broadways top performers on
their Sunday night off and many movie stars who had flown
in from Los Angeles. The atmosphere was electric and
petrified by fear - this aint Dallas, kiddo!
This is Carnegie Hall . . . and I aint Heifetz or
Rubinstein! - Judy almost didnt go on. She
did, and it went down as one of the greatest nights in
show business history (pictured right).
- Greeted by a standing ovation that
lasted five minutes, she could only say, Oh, my . .
., and mock-clap back to the audience.
Time: She got, without
opening her mouth, what it takes Renata Tebaldi two and a
half hours of Puccini to achieve.
- Her voice was flawless. The concert
spanned two and a half hours and twenty-six songs,
showing Judy in all her moods from clown to mistress of
- There were standards, show-stoppers,
numbers from her movies and Al Jolson songs - Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a
Dixie Melody and Swanee.
- After a multitude of curtain calls and
an encore of After Youve Gone she asked the audience: Do you
really want more? Arent you tired? They just
yelled for more. Warning them that this was her last
song, she sang Chicago,
sounding as fresh as she had at the beginning of the
show. Rock Hudson then lifted Liza, Lorna and Joe
on-stage for a bow with their mother to finally end the
- Judy Garland at
Carnegie Hall became an
immediate show business legend.
Judy: Ill sing
em all and well stay the night.
I still dont believe anything like this could
happen. She said: Lets do it, as though
she had never done it before.
Mort Lindsay: This
was her crowd - the first five or ten or fifteen rows
were the cream of show business - and she sure
Hollywood Reporter: There IS
Judy Garland and there WAS Al Jolson. And then the mold
is broken! Ask anyone who remembers the days when
Jolie took over the Winter Garden runway and
they will tell you that never since has a singer of songs
been able to mesmerize an audience. There are
unrestrained shouts of Bravo! after every
number. At the end of two and a half hours there is a mad
race down the aisles by the we want more
idolaters, who know the lyrics of every song shes
ever sung, and feel cheated if she skips one. All of them
agree she is the GREATEST.
- In the summer and autumn of 1961,
Garland played 21 more concerts in 16 cities, including a
return to Carnegie
Hall on 21 May (sold out at the
same time as the first one) and setting box-office
- Missing only two engagements because
of an ear infection, she played cities that included
Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Detroit and
Cleveland and broke the Hollywood Bowl attendance
record in September where 18,000 people sat outdoors in a
steady drizzle and refused to leave even after four
- These concerts were deeply exhausting
feats of endurance. Singing non-stop for the first hour,
she would break for an interval of twenty five minutes,
return to the stage for another ninety minutes, and by
the time she reached the encores would be so exhausted
she could barely walk to the wings between songs.
- The tour placed huge demands on her
and there were several instances when she behaved
temperamentally and irrationally - she was
over-medicating with amphetamines and barbiturates. While
in Los Angeles she recorded the speaking and singing
voice of Mewsette, a cartoon kitten in the
animated feature Gay Purr-ee.
In July 1961, Judy at Carnegie Hall was
released by Capitol as a two-record set and it went to Number One
on the Billboard chart, remained there for thirteen weeks, winning a
Gold Record and an unprecedented five Grammy
Judy: Every once in a while you seem
to earn a year where everything goes right.
- Fields finally settled the legal battle
between Garland and CBS, and Frank
Sinatra and Dean Martin were her guests for her comeback
- Sinatra sang to Garland (pictured right): Youre Just Too Marvellous for Words, to set the tone, and with virtually
no chit-chat, the three singers just sang for the whole
hour. With the highest rating of any entertainment
programme in CBS history, it amassed four Emmy nominations and later won the international
television award at the Montreux Festival.
Norman Jewison: The most exciting
television I ever did.
was terribly proud of the show and I usually dont
like my own work.
- Garland went straight to work on
another Stanley Kramer production, A Child Is Waiting, playing the part of a teacher working with
retarded children. I wanted the role so badly
because Ive done work with troubled children and I
know a bit more about them than most people. A disturbed
child once helped me to get well.
- Genuinely retarded children were
allowed to appear in the film and on her first day on
set, the children clamoured for autographs from Dorothy.
- The film was not a success. Her
co-star Burt Lancaster, though encouraging and
considerate, insisted upon telling her how to play the
part, and actor-director John Cassavetes clashed with
producer Stanley Kramer over the philosophy of the film.
Late in April 1962, Garland hit the headlines with
another altercation with Sid. She had filed for divorce,
and wanting to leave with her children for London, she
had Sid restrained at the Hotel Stanhope while she rushed
Lorna, Joe and Liza to the airport. Luft branded Garland
as an unfit mother.
- At a Press interview in London, Judy
said: I dont know why Sid says Im unfit
mother. The children love me. I hear he may be coming
over to try to take the children away from me. He will
never do that. There is no chance of a reconciliation. My
marriage is finished. Lawyers in London arranged
for her children to be made wards of court and her
passport was impounded.
- Judy stayed for a week in
Buckinghamshire at the home of Dirk Bogarde, one of her
long-time friends and one of the dawn patrol
whom she was in the habit of ringing in the early hours
of the morning.
- At the end of the week they threw a
party and Bogarde recounted: After supper, in the
fading light of the summer sun, everyone sat around the
grand paino and she and Noel Coward sang for their
suppers. She knew all Noels lyrics, which pleased
him greatly, from Mrs. Worthington to the entire score of
Bitter Sweet and If Love Were All,
which they sang as a duet, and brought the packed room
roaring to its feet.
- Dirk Bogarde was her co-star in her
new film, I
Could Go On Singing, adapted
and re-titled from The Lonely Stage.
Judy liked the soap-opera plot: This big, big star
goes to London to do a concert and finds the man who got
away . . . Its about me. I guess someone read my
- When shooting began she was difficult.
Her erratic behaviour was not prompted by any viciousness
but by a consuming fear. She was terrified of being
unable to produce what was required, and her self-imposed
dieting, her dependence on pills, and custody battles
with Sid all added to it.
- Dirk Bogarde showed infinite patience,
re-writing scenes for her, but the British crews
liking for her soon faded. When she finally walked off
set, she yelled at them: Youll miss me when
- It has to be said that the whole film
crew spontaneously applauded the finest dramatic scene in
the picture, the one that Dirk Bogarde wrote for himself
and Judy. Propped up in a hospital room, Judy moved from
drunken, owlish humour, to defiance, to a tearful
breakdown, and recovery all in one six-minute
take. It was her thirty-second feature film
and her last.
Mort Lindsay: She really
wasnt feeling well and we didnt know what to
At times she could be unbearable and do and say
terrible things, and yet there was this aura of magic
that made working with her a wonderful experience.
- Garland returned to the States in
August 1962 and again filed for divorce. Both parents
wanted custody of the children. Sid argued that Judy was
unfit to have custody and Judy became obsessed that he
would kidnap them. After going on a crash diet of two
unsweetened cups of tea a day, she was found unconscious
in her room and was hospitalised suffering from a kidney
- Luft telephoned her, enquiring about
her condition, adding: Id like to see the
children, by the way.
- Judy answered: You can see them
when the court says you can see them.
Liza: It was tough being
Judy Garlands daughter. The difference between me
and the other kids on the block was that when my parents
battled, or my mother went to as rest home, it became a
matter of public record.
- Two days after leaving hospital she
opened at the Sahara
Hotel in Las Vegas for a
three-week run and for the first time in Vegas history
this was extended for two more weeks. She told a
reporter: I think right now is possibly the best
time in my life. Im really starting to do my best
work. I have three marvellous children, and I think I
have a brand-new career opening up.
- After a concert in Chicago, she made
promotional appearances for A Child Is Waiting
and Gay Purr-ee, and gave her first extended television
interview on The Jack Parr Program. Greeted by a standing ovation from
the studio audience, she provided a happy hour of
spontaneous fun and joyous song.
- On the strength of this showing,
Fields and Begelman contracted Garland to do a weekly
series of TV specials for CBS scheduled to
begin in June 1963. Garlands production company
would be paid $24 million for four seasons of variety
Jack Parr: One of the great
talkers in show business.
Variety: She provided a picture
of mental and physical health . . . a highly rewarding
and gratifying display.
- Though Judy felt drained and was ready
for a vacation, she taped a CBS special with
Phil Silvers and Robert Goulet and four days later opened
at Lake Tahoe where she sang her latest ballad, As Long As He Needs Me.
- On her seventh night she collapsed in
the dressing room with slight paralysis and was taken to
hospital. Recovering quickly, she returned to Britain in
March 1963 to attend the premiere of I Could Go On Singing. In spite of good promotion and spectacular
reviews, no one in Britain wanted to see the film, though
they would queue for hours to see her on stage.
- She also appeared live on Sunday Night at the
Palladium and donated her
fee to the Thalidomide Fund. Once she missed her cue and
said: Come on! We can stop - even on
- For the first time she sang Smile which became a Garland classic.
- Liza decided she wanted to be in show
business. Her father, Vincente Minnelli encouraged her:
Yes, I think its about time. You have so much
energy you might as well start using it.
- Judy told her: All right, you do
as you please. I cant stop you. I wont try.
But youre going to have to make it on your
own. Although Judy was not prepared to help
financially, she was generous with advice.
- There was an attempt at reconciliation
with Sid but two weeks after a party to celebrate
Garlands forty-first birthday and eleventh wedding
anniversary, he moved out for the last time. There were
unpaid bills, irregularities in her accounts, and she
talked of suing her agents for misappropriation of money.