The Judy Garland Show
- Apart from two concert solo performances: the
show where a fledgling Barbara Streisand and Ethel Merman
joined in blasting out Theres No Business Like Show Business, and the Christmas show with her
children - Hi, Babies. Isnt this going to be
fun? All of us together, singing on television, just like
we do at home. Joey, did you learn your song? - the
Garland series foundered.
- Garland became ever later for
rehearsals and after thirteen episodes, The Judy Garland Show was in deep trouble. Though a new executive
producer, director and writers were signed up, Garland
was feeling unhappily insecure about the whole series,
and investigative reporters for national magazines began
to haunt the set delighting in news that Garland had
failed to turn up and trying to confirm that she drank.
Judy: Sometimes rehearsals
are missed, but Ive been around long enough so I
can pick things up quickly.
Lena Horne: She
was a helluva a singer who always pulled through, but
-oooh, honey, she could make you mad.
Lloyd Shearer: The
show is merely a statistical failure . . . incorrectly
targeted by network masterminds.
Before the fourteenth show could be taped, the entire
nation was shocked by the assassination of John F.
Kennedy. It hit Judy Garland especially hard since she
knew him personally and liked him. We have changed
our dinner at the White House so we can watch your
show, he had recently told her. As a tribute to
JFK, she closed her show by singing The Battle Hymn of the
Mort Lindsay: CBS didnt want
her to do it; they felt it was too heavy or
One of the great performances of all time; if you
didnt cry, you were dead.
- Bill Colleran, married to Lee Remick,
produced the last seven shows and hit it off at once with
Garland. Thats it, he said. What
this girl does better than anyone else in the world,
anywhere in history, is sing . . . So I gave her a mike,
added ten men to the orchestra, and let her sing for an
hour. CBS were furious but the show was wonderful.
- The last seven shows introduced more
songs, less patter and pleased the critics, only it was
too late - CBS had already cancelled the show.
Commercially, the show was not a success and it
hadnt made Garland a penny richer.
- Nevertheless, the series won four Emmys and the total of twenty-six episodes
contained scores of unforgettable Garland solos, and she
invariably topped the competition from contemporary
talents in the shows. One columnist prophetically
commented: The tapes of these twenty-six shows with
close-ups and medium shots of Judy singing songs
identified with her and standards are priceless, and are
destined to become a golden section of the Judy Garland
Over the years Judy Garland made millions but somehow she
managed to stay broke almost the whole time. With the
amount of money she was earning she could not conceive of
denying herself the comforts to which she was accustomed,
even when heavily in debt. She had no business sense and
it seemed none of her managers ever did get a grip on her
finances. At one time local supermarkets would not extend
her credit and pharmacies would not make up her
prescriptions because her bills had not been paid for
over a year.
Liza Minnelli: But no matter how
broke we were, we always lived like millionaires and with
- Garland decided to get away from it
all and in the spring of 1964 she took up an offer to
give three concerts in Australia. She had already been
dating a small-part actor named Mark Herron and brought
him along as her escort.
- Panic set in when customs confiscated
her supply of pills but she was in glowing form at her
first Press conference in Sydney. Asked if this was
another come-back, she answered: Some people regard
it as a come-back when I return from the bathroom!
- Though physically frail, she triumphed
in her two Sydney concerts, playing to capacity
audiences, though some of the songs could not be heard
above the tumultuous roar of the crowd. At the end of the
second concert she thought she had taken enough bows when
the producer indelicately told her: Only a jerk
like you could get a response like that.
- A stunned Garland slapped his face.
The episode unnerved her and nagged at her.
- By the time she reached Melbourne she
was overwrought, not having slept for days and in poor
voice. Arriving an hour late for the concert, she
appeared to want to clown with the orchestra rather than
sing. The songs she did sing were out of sequence and the
orchestra didnt know what was coming next.
- An announced interval of fifteen
minutes turned into twenty-seven and voices called out
Youre late, and Have another
- After bickering with the audience she
sang three more songs ending with Ill Go My
Way By Myself Alone. When the slow handclaps turned
into boos, she began to cry, broke off, saying:
Its so lonely by myself - Good night,
and rushed off stage. Some of the patrons had already
left and some asked for their money back.
- The concert was a disaster and the
newspapers had a field day with accusations that she had
been drunk or drugged. She tried to explain: I felt
so awful, unhappy and lost that I hardly knew what I was
doing . . .
Time magazine: At 41,
Judy Garland may have gone over the rainbow for the last
The behaviour of the Melbourne audience was rude,
disgusting and embarrassing. If they had been a little
more civilised, they would have seen the Garland that
Garland and Heron fled to Hong Kong where this time she
made a serious attempt to destroy herself with a large
overdose. At one point, she was given up for dead but
rallied. Her stomach was pumped out but the dosage of
Seconal was so large that her health was irreparably
damaged. She would never be altogether well again. By
tragic coincidence, her sister Suzy had succeeded in
taking her own life in Las Vegas with an overdose only a
few days earlier.
Amid confusing reports that were married, Garland and
Heron, flew to London where she attended the charity
of a Hundred Stars, held
at midnight at the Palladium.
- Expressly forbidden to sing by
doctors, she could only acknowledge the welcome roar from
the audience. But Shirley Bassey, topping the bill, blew
her a kiss during her number If Love Were All, and when Shirley had completed her
last song, the audience began a unified chant of
Sing, Judy, Sing! The MC, Richard
Attenborough, led her to centre stage and she wistfully
the Rainbow, before
belting out Swanee.
- The applause was deafening and Garland
herself was overwhelmed.
Judy: London has always
been like home to me. Now its more than ever like home. I
dont know what happened there at the Palladium or
why the people should have shown such emotion towards me.
I guess its something that just happened. And,
believe me, it was the most exciting thing in the
were in many eyes at what appeared to be personal triumph
over adversity, while Miss Garlands voice fully
deserved the cheers which eclipsed any that had gone
before in this genuinely starry show. This was an
exceptional occasion which everyone present will remember
- Liza came to stay with her mother in
her Kensington home and they appeared together in concert
one Sunday evening in November at the Palladium. Tickets sold out immediately. Capitol
recorded it for an album and to accommodate demand
another appearance was booked the following week, which
had to be at midnight after the normal Palladium show.
and together (pictured
right on stage together),
mother and daughter sang a host of songs, some of them
arranged by a friend of Lizas - the unknown Marvin
Hamlisch. Liza was commended for her scatty, off-beat
interpretations of her songs, but it was Judy who turned
cheers into ovations. Judys voice had become worn
by the end of the second show however and she asked the
audience to sing Rainbow for
Liza Minnelli: One minute I was on
stage with my mother, the next moment with Judy Garland.
One minute she smiled at me, and the next she was like
the lioness that owned the stage and suddenly found
somebody invading her territory . . .
- While in Hong Kong, Judy had heard the
Allen Brothers, a singing-dancing duo of Australian
performers, and imported them to London to work in
cabaret. When Garland returned to the America in December
1964, she agreed to appear on the CBS
talent show, On Broadway Tonight,
to introduce the Allens to America. They became her
opening act for her concerts and encouraged by Judy, Liza
became engaged to Peter Allen.
- Judy was invited to sing at the Academy Awards celebrations but the elaborate arrangement
by Roger Edens was too much for her and her performance
was poor. Her illness in Hong Kong, where she had
undergone a tracheotomy, had taken a heavy toll on her
- Suffering vocal problems at concerts
in Charlotte, Chicago and Cincinnati, she attended the
UCLA Medical Centre. She had to leave to play a two-week
engagement at the Thunderbird in Las
Vegas where she played to capacity audiences without
mishap, though her salary was sequestered by a court
- In May 1965 she was at long last divorced
from Sid Luft. Almost every month some new illness of
injury was reported and there was always the pressing
need for money.
- She appeared on the Andy Wiliams Show
(pictured righr) but during an six-night engagement in
September 1965 at the Greek Theatre, Los
Angeles, fell over her pet dog and broke her arm.
Assisted by Mickey Rooney, Martha Raye and Johnny Mathis,
she did the show on the second night with her arm in
plaster but the rest of the shows were cancelled.
Variety: Theres no
arguing with a broken arm but the long-term effects of
will, unfortunately, compound an impression in the minds
of some promoters and fans that Miss Garland cannot be
relied upon to completely fulfil an engagement.
Mama was sick and I would hear about it. Sometimes - most
of the time, in fact - she wasnt sick, but Id
hear that she was.
- On 14 November 1965 she married Mark
Herron in Las Vegas. Her children were not there as she
had hoped - Liza was about to open at the Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles and Luft had forbidden Lorna
and Joey to attend.
- After doing a one-night stand at the
enormous Houston Astrodome with the Supremes as the
opening act, vocal problems again began to dog her.
Laryngitis affected the taping of two Sammy Davis, Jr. Shows on 18 and 25 March 1966, though she
won acclaim for the medley of film hits performed with
Sammy Davis in tramp costumes (pictured right).
- Garlands recent record
royalties, television and concert salaries had been
attached for tax debts. After fifteen months working at
top salary and being threatened with repossession of her
home, she had great difficulty in understanding why she
had gone even further into debt.
- In May 1966, Herron learned that under
Californian law he could be liable for half of
Judys debts, now running into millions, and so he
instigated divorce proceedings.
- With cancelled performances,
comebacks, the effects of medication, illness
and hospitalisations, her public reputation was at a new
low. And even though running out of friends to borrow
from, she refused to work through the rest of 1966,
except for an engagement in a Mexico City night-club that
only lasted two nights because of laryngitis.
Judy: Once I was worth
millions but today I havent got a dime.
- She had put on weight during her
marriage to Mark Herron but now lost weight rapidly, her
health deteriorating again. Photographs showed her
- When Liza married Peter Allen in New
York on 3 March 1967, Vincente Minnelli escorted Garland
to the ceremony, the first time they had been seen
together in sixteen years.
Judy: If you had any class,
youd escort me to your daughters
In February 1967 she began work in a
supporting role on the film Valley of the Dolls. There
were rumours that she was at odds with various members of the
company but after reading the script Garland refused to leave her
dressing room. After a few weeks 20th Century Fox announced she
was being replaced by Susan Hayward.
Judy: I was hired, everybody seemed
happy, I showed up every day on time. Nobody knows what happened.
Ive still got the dressing room key.
- At the end of March 1967 Garland
received an Income Tax demand for $4 million dollars
which she did not have and she had to sell her home in
California: In a way Im glad theyve
taken the house. Its too big, too impractical.
Besides the man who lived in it before didnt love
- For the next couple of years she would
be based chiefly in New York, moving from hotel to hotel
living out of a suitcase. Whenever possible she stayed in
friends houses. At one point she spent three weeks
sleeping on the floor of an apartment belonging to some
young friends of Lizas.
- Sid Luft was called in to try and
straighten out her financial affairs and formed a company
called Group V, supposedly comprising of Luft, Garland
and her three children. If she had read the contract
small print, Garland would have discovered that Group V
owned her body and soul and the only member of Group V
- After playing the summer-stock
circuit, Luft booked Judy into the Palace for the third time in a four-week run,
Garland at Home at the Palace.
- Opening on 31 July 1967, every night
became celebrity night as Judy brought celebrities on
stage such as Duke Ellington, Joan Crawford and Beatrice
Lillie. Seven evening shows for twenty-seven consecutive
nights could have been too much, but she miraculously
pulled it off with the help of her daughter Lorna, who
offered a solo medley as well as duets with her, and her
son Joey who played drums. Liza returned from abroad to
appear on the last two evenings to duet Chicago and sing Cabaret.
Someone in the
What do you think? Is it theatre?
Came the reply: Is
it theatre? You bet its theatre. It sure as hell
- From the Palace, Judy went
on a ten-city, sixteen show tour, which included
off-stage visits to military hospitals in Boston, Chicago
and Bethesda where she chatted and sang to servicemen
wounded in Vietnam. Her free open-air concert on Boston
Common drew over 100,000 people on a cold, damp day. The
audience began arriving thirteen hours before showtime
and sang Hello,
Judy to her as she danced
between numbers. In Washington she spent four hours
talking to servicemen in the War Veterans Hospital: Those young men make me so proud.
They have such dignity and honour . . . They have no
self-pity or cynicism. You really come away feeling
The arduous ordeal of touring took its toll
and ignoring doctors advice to cancel some of her
engagements - she couldnt afford to - she struggled to
complete each concert. Publicly accused of not bothering to
perform properly and described as a legend
self-destroyed, she was unable to complete her final
booking of the year at the Madison Square Garden Felt Forum because of bronchitis.
Al Terban: I think she may have closed
Garland had little to show for her
seven-month concert tour since most of her income was taken up in
back taxes. Her personal and professional fortunes were now in
terminal decline as debts, medication, ill-health and disillusion
with Group V took its toll.
Judy: Professional happiness doesnt
last through the night. You cant take it home with you
after the curtain rings down. It doesnt protect you from
the terror of a lonely hotel room. And, in a way, it destroys
your soul to feed off applause. I know, Ive tried to draw
strength and security from it. But in the middle of the night
applause becomes an empty echo, and you think, God, how am I
going to make it till morning?
- Early in 1968 she was locked out of a
New York townhouse because she could not pay the rent and
her possessions were impounded at the St. Moritz Hotel.
- There was a bad one-night stand in
Baltimore where she was unable to sing, and in June, her
five-night engagement at the Garden State Arts Centre in New Jersey proved a fiasco when she fell
asleep on final night and had to be helped from the
- Once again she sought treatment at the
Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston and several weeks
later her performance at Philadelphias outdoor JFK Stadium was one of her finer efforts, zipping from
one song to the next.
A critic: The audience talked
to Judy and she talked back. It was a beautiful love
affair in this ugly stadium.
Whilst Judys fortunes were in
decline, Lizas career was flourishing and living in
relative comfort with Peter Allen. Judy could create a crisis out
of thin air and fed up with quarrelling with her mother, Lorna
fled with her brother Joey to Sid in Los Angeles while Judy took
an apartment by herself in Boston.
Marcella Rabwin: I could never hate you, Judy,
but I may feel sorry for you.
- Mickey Deans was the night-manager at
Arthurs, a fashionable discotheque owned by Richard
Burtons former wife Sybil. Garland had known Mickey
for two years when out of the blue, she announced their
engagement. They enjoyed each others company and he
told her that if they married she would not have to work
again - unless she wanted to.
- Garland had already accepted an offer
of an engagement at Londons Talk of the Town and Deans accompanied her to London on 28
December 1968 where she was handed a writ attempting to
prevent her appearance in cabaret - Judys Group V
employment contract had become the province of two
businessmen when Sid Luft had been unable to re-pay a
- A British judge threw the case out of
- Never sure whether she would show up,
or if, when she did, she would be able to perform,
Bernard Delfont had booked Garland for a five-week
engagement.. He need not have worried, every star in
London was present at The Talk of the Town to cheer her on when she successfully
opened on 30 December 1968.
- Despite the fact that smoke-laden
atmosphere was hard on her voice, she got through the
first three weeks of the engagement but her health was
now a serious problem. Wholly dependent on drugs, her
strength ebbed away under the strain of performing
nightly. Though she herself wasnt aware of it, she
was consistently late, and missed two days when doctors
ordered her to bed. Her backstage helper, Lorna Smith,
regarded it a miracle that she was able to go on at all
every evening. In her final week she tried to joke:
Whats the matter - cant a legend have
the flu? Nevertheless Garland broke all records at The Talk of the Town.
Lorna Smith: Drawing herself
together to become as much of Judy Garland as
her worn-out constitution would allow.
The Stage: There are very
few artists who create an emotionalism - almost amounting
to hysteria - minutes before they actually set foot on
- Judy Garland married Mickey Deans at
Chelsea Registry Office on 15 March 1969. She looked as
frail as a bird, a mere shadow of her former self. Johnny
Ray, whose career was also well into decline, was the
only show-business figure present.
- A reception was held at
Quaglinos Restaurant but as arrangements had been
made at short notice no famous names were present.
- Deans arranged concerts for her in
Stockholm, Malmo and Copenhagen, attracting audiences
where she had never appeared before. Her concert in
Copenhagen on 25 March turned out to be her final
performance and if the quality wasnt there any
more, there was still the magic: She sat down on
the stage floor and began to sing Over the Rainbow. It was though she sang it for the
first time, with fervent innocence and sweetness. Tears
came to ones eyes . . . She had a great
Garland and Deans returned to New York for three weeks.
Her moods were as changeable as ever - one day planning
for her future career, and the next saying that she
wanted nothing more than to be an English housewife. But
where in the past she gave the impression she would
somehow pull out her slump and make a comeback, her
energy was now running low.
- The couple returned to London on 14
June and stayed at their tiny mews cottage in Cadogan
Lane. She looked frail and ill, hardly ate, and spent
more time reading.
- On the following Saturday they
cancelled a trip to the theatre to see Danny LaRues
closing night and stayed home. Judy retired first and was
still awake when her husband came upstairs. After taking
a dose of sleeping pills, she fell asleep.
- In the early hours of Sunday, 22 June,
Deans found Judy dead in the bathroom, sat on the toilet,
her head cradled in her arms. After awakening in the
night, she had taken more sleeping pills and in her
weakened condition had been unable to survive the dosage.
She had often said that when her number came up she would
ask for another one, but it had come up once too often.
She was aged forty-seven and $4 million in debt.
- The official verdict was that Judy had
died accidentally from barbiturate poisoning due to
an incautious overdose.
- The Coroner stated: I think one
should bring it out publicly there was no question of
- Newspapers made much of the tragedy of
her life, her suicide attempts, addictions, domestic
problems and hospitalisations, and little of her
She had been living on borrowed time. When I
examined her about eight years ago she had cirrhosis of
the liver. I thought that if she lasted five more years
she would have done very well . . . She was always a
fighter. She was under great stress, but for her it was
always: The show must go on.
- Garlands body was flown home to
New York for burial and it was agreed that the public
could pay a last homage. Over 20,000 people filed past
the open casket in Campbells Funeral Home on Madison Avenue, New York, and hundreds
of floral arrangements arrived from stars and fans. Liza
handled the funeral arrangements and wanted mourners to
remember the gay side of her life by asking those who
came to pay tribute not to wear black.
- The funeral flowers were yellow and
white as Liza explained: For joy, and asked
Marcella Rabwin to be there: Because you were there
in the beginning and I want you to be there at the
end. A heartbroken Mickey Rooney left before the
Liza: I think she was just tired,
like a flower that blooms and gives joy and beauty to the
world, and then wilts away . . . I just want to send her
off as she would have wanted to go . . . bright and
twenty-minute Episcopal service began with an organ
rendition of Heres To Us
and James Mason delivered the eulogy: It was the
love of life which carried her through everything. The
middle of the road was never for her. It bored her. She
wanted the pinnacle of excitement. If she was happy, she
wasnt just happy. she was ecstatic. And when she
was sad she was sadder than anyone.
- The small congregation of about forty
people ended the service by singing The Battle Hymn of the
Garlands coffin was carried aloft by six
- She was buried in Ferncliffe Mausoleum
in Hartsdale, Westchester County, over a year later.
Frank Sinatra: She will have a mystic
survival. She was the greatest. The rest of us will be
forgotten - never Judy.
People should remember her as the great actress and
entertainer she was and always will be.
- Bing Crosby: The most talented
woman I ever knew was Judy Garland. She was a great,
great comedienne and she could do more things than any
girl I ever knew. Act, sing, dance, make you laugh. She
was everything. I had a great affection for her. Such a
tragedy. Too much work, too much pressure, the wrong kind
of people as husbands.
- Budd Schulberg: Judy Garland somehow
survived as a star of the first magnitude - a Lady
Lazarus who kept rising from the dead, from countless
suicide attempts, and broken marriages and nervous
breakdowns and neurotic battles with weight and sleep, to
somehow pull her jangled nerves together, take command of
the Palladium, Palace or Carnegie Hall and bring down
that audience one more time.
All who follow her have to bear that very, very,
hard comparison of Judy Garland, anybody who sings,
anybody who holds an audience in the palm of their hand,
with such consummate ease, with such magic, with such
sincerity, with love and with such truth. She is, always
will be, Miss Show Business.
all books, videos and CDs of Judy Garland.