Judy Garland: The Tragic Muse of Hollywood!

how old was judy garland in wizard of oz

Judy Garland, an American actress, singer, and vaudevillian had a net worth of $40,000 at the time of her passing; after inflation, this amounted to $300,000 today. By reaching 18, she had already made more than $400,000 in movie salaries. Over her career, she earned close to $10 million, or almost $100 million when inflation is taken into account.

Judy Garland was a talented singer as well as one of the most popular actors in the world at the height of her career. Garland belonged to a time when it was required of actresses to be able to sing and dance, and she was one of the few who could do all of these things equally well.

Judy received numerous accolades and prizes as a result of her accomplishments. They included a Grammy Award, an Academic Juvenile Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Special Tony Award, and numerous more distinctions. She started working when she was still a teenager, and she had to pay a price to enter the entertainment industry. Garland experienced substance misuse from a very young age and battled low self-worth throughout her life. The renowned actress also struggled financially, which contributed to her incredibly low net worth at the time of her death.

Judy Garland Early Life

On June 10th, 1922, Frances Ethel Gumm was born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Frances, who was raised by vaudevillian parents, began singing and dancing at a very young age. In the early days, she and her siblings regularly performed together. The Gumm family eventually left their village and moved to Lancaster, California as rumors about her father’s purported gay tendencies spread there. The young actress’s proximity to Hollywood opened up a wide range of fresh options.

Judy Garland Career

The Gumm Sisters began appearing together in various television shows around 1928. It was never made apparent why the group adopted the name “Garland Sisters,” but a number of hypotheses eventually emerged. Later, the group changed their name to that. Songwriter Burton Lane sought out Judy Garland and set up an audition for her at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios. Garland received a contract after singing during the audition.

Sadly, the movie company didn’t know what to do with Garland. She was in that awkward “in-between” stage between child and adult roles at the age of thirteen. She was also blatantly informed that she was an “ugly duckling” and that Ava Gardner and Elizabeth Taylor, who were her contemporaries, were physically more attractive than she was.

how old was judy garland in wizard of oz

Despite this, Garland was a gifted actor and vocalist who provided MGM with a sizable stream of revenue. She was thrust into a demanding schedule, making appearances in movies such as “Loves Finds Andy Hardy,” “Babes in Arms,” “Andy Hardy Meets Debutante,” and “Life Starts for Andy Hardy.” Garland was given amphetamines during this time in order to keep her awake for extended shoots. She was given barbiturates to put her to sleep when it was time. MGM later disputed this.

That the studio was never content with Judy’s weight is one thing that hasn’t changed. She was made to follow strict diets and limit her meals to bowls of soup and salad. All of this reinforced Judy’s self-doubt, which in the years to come would only deteriorate and become self-destructive.

When Judy Garland was chosen to play the title part in “The Wizard of Oz,” a significant development occurred. She went on to become well-known for singing the well-known song “Over the Rainbow” in this, one of her most defining roles. Garland moved into adult responsibilities after accomplishing this goal and began her first committed relationship with Artie Shaw. She then wed David Rose, but by 1944, their union had broken down. Garland had an abortion while they were dating. In 1943, there would be one more abortion.

Garland completed her MGM contract with a number of well-known films after taking on more adult parts. The first was “The Pirate,” which Garland performed in 1948, during which he experienced a psychological breakdown and made his first attempt at suicide. Following the commercially successful release of “Easter Parade,” Garland began abusing a number of narcotics, including morphine and sleeping pills. Garland’s acting performance started to deteriorate seriously at this point. She was repeatedly let go from movies, and once she just stopped turning up on location. MGM terminated Garland’s contract in 1950, which is thought to have led to her making another suicide attempt. She was freed from her contract by year’s end.

Toward the conclusion of her career, Judy enjoyed success in the theatre despite her personal challenges. Garland made a sincere comeback and went back to her vaudeville origins. She also began performing with her daughter, Liza Minnelli, around this time. Garland had made a comeback to Hollywood with “A Star is Born” by the middle of the 1950s. She was anticipated to receive an Oscar for this performance, but Grace Kelly was granted it in what has been called one of the biggest robberies in movie history.

Garland started making more appearances on television in the 1960s and beyond, and she even got her own TV show. When this performance was postponed, she went back to the stage and performed alongside her now-18-year-old daughter Liza. Garland’s desperation grew as a result of several negative divorces during this time and escalating financial issues. By the decade’s close, it was obvious she was headed in the wrong direction.

Read More: “The Rising Star: A Look at Kartiki Gonsalves’ Journey to Fame!

Judy Garland’s Financial Problems

Judy had major financial issues that placed her in a desperate situation by the end of her life despite earning millions of dollars at the height of her career. She amassed so much debt as a result of years of poor financial management combined with her generosity to friends and family that many of the charitable bequests in her will not be carried out.

Judy learned she owed the IRS $500,000 just a few years before she passed away. In today’s money, that amounts to about $4 million. Her agents, Freddie Fields, and David Begelman were responsible for this through theft and poor management. The IRS issued a tax lien on her property in Brentwood, Los Angeles, and began garnishing royalties from her Capitol Records recording contract and other commercial operations. After being forced to sell the house at a significant loss, Judy spent some time moving from hotel to hotel, frequently leaving a big payment unpaid.

In 1967, Judy made more than $200,000 during a 27-night run at the Palace Theater in New York. 75 percent of the show’s revenue went to her. Regrettably, the majority of these revenues were taken by the IRS. Liza Minnelli, Judy’s daughter, raised the funds necessary to settle the estate’s debts after Judy passed away. Her personal belongings, numbering over 500, were auctioned off to raise $250,000 (or nearly $1 million in today’s currency). Frank Sinatra also personally contributed monies to pay the bills.

How Old Was Judy Garland in Wizard of Oz

In 1938 when she was sixteen, Garland was cast as the young Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz (1939), a film based on the 1900 children’s book by L. Frank Baum. In the film, she sang the song with which she would be constantly identified afterward, “Over the Rainbow”.

how old was judy garland in wizard of oz

Judy Garland Death

Garland was discovered dead in a restroom on June 22nd, 1969, by her last spouse Mickey Deans. She had been born in 1947. Judy’s condition had been rapidly worsening as she gave her final concerts in London and Copenhagen, and an overdose of barbiturates was ultimately found to be the cause of her death. Garland had taken an extremely high amount of the medicine over an extended period of time, even though suicide had been ruled out.

Read More: Lesley Paterson – The Story of The Former Olympic Triathlon Champion Turned Oscar-Nominated Screenwriter!

The autopsy also found that Garland would have passed away quickly from cirrhosis, a severe decline in liver function, even though this conclusion was later refuted by tests. Another medical professional opined that Judy had an eating disorder, which may have played a role in her demise.



Arya is a talented content writer working for SheNewz. With her exceptional writing skills and attention to detail, she has made a name for herself in the highly competitive field of digital media. When she's not busy crafting compelling stories, Arya loves to express herself through dance. She has been trained in various dance styles and considers it as her favorite hobby.

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