On this day, 90 years ago, famed American actress, singer, and vaudevillian Judy Garland was born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Let’s take a look at the life and work of one of Hollywood’s most celebrated singers and screen stars after the jump!
On June 10, 1922, Frances Ethel Gumm, who later became known as Judy Garland, was born as the youngest daughter of Ethel Marion and Francis “Frank” Gumm. Like the rest of the family, Frances showed a love and talent for singing and dancing. At a very young age of two-and-a-half, she first appeared on stage with her two older sisters, Mary Jane and Dorothy in their father’s movie theater for a Christmas show, where they sang “Jingle Bells.” Since then, “The Gumm Sisters” began touring as vaudeville performers, but had to change their name to “The Garland Sisters” after they were advised to choose a more appealing name.
Frances, who had changed her name to “Judy,” was signed to Metro-Goldwyn Mayer in 1935, allegedly sans a screen test, but she had already gone to one several months earlier. However, MGM didn’t know what to do with their then 13-year-old talent. She was too old to be billed as a child star but too young to be given adult roles. Also, her so-called “girl next door” looks set her far from the glamorous features typically seen in leading ladies of the time, such as MGM’s other talents, Ava Gardner, Lana Turner, and Elizabeth Taylor. This made Garland anxious and self-conscious throughout her life.
Still, she was that little girl with a great big voice, and it was her singing prowess that kept her afloat as one of MGM’s stars. Three years after she joined MGM, Garland was chosen to play the part of Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz, a film adaptation of the children’s book by L. Frank Baum. Child star Shirley Temple was said to be one of the contenders for the role, but her singing was just not good enough. In the 1939 film, Garland sang “Over the Rainbow,” which became forever identified with her.
Garland went on to star in many other films, the most notable being Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), The Clock (1945), The Harvey Girls (1946), and The Pirate (1948). Aside from being a star of the silver screen, she was also a well-received singer and had her own musical variety television show (The Judy Garland Show) later on in her career.
Let’s take a look at some more photos of the lovely Judy Garland below and greet her a happy birthday:
Now, let’s watch “Over the Rainbow,” sang by the celebrated singer-actress for The Wizard of Oz: