Over the Rainbow Night Thread (6/10)

Today was Judy Garland’s birthday.

One of the most talented and iconic show business legends of all time, Judy Garland rose from vaudeville to film stardom on the strength of her gloriously expressive and powerful voice. Signed to MGM, she became a superstar thanks to nine films with Mickey Rooney as well as the iconic role of Dorothy Gale in “The Wizard of Oz” (1939), where she introduced her signature song, “Over the Rainbow.” Garland went on to sparkle in classics like “Meet Me in St. Louis” (1944), “Easter Parade” (1948), her Oscar-nominated comeback “A Star is Born” (1954), where she introduced her second signature song, “The Man That Got Away,” and her Oscar-nominated turn in “Judgment at Nuremberg” (1961). Driven by a ruthless stage mother, hooked on prescription drugs from a young age at the behest of MGM, and eventually suicidal, Garland suffered from personal demons that threatened to overwhelm her, leading to five unsuccessful marriages and three children, including Liza Minnelli in 1946. Throughout her life of highs and lows, her inestimable talent showed through nowhere better than in live performance. Those who saw her perform live spoke of the experience in almost mystical terms, especially a comeback performance captured on the Grammy-winning Judy at Carnegie Hall, widely considered the greatest night in show business history. Literally giving her life for her art, Garland poured her soul out in every song and in every scene, achieving immortality of the highest order and recognition as one of the greatest entertainers of all time.

-Jonathan Riggs, Turner Classic Movies

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