“I couldn’t care less. I sing to people.” These were the immortal words of Judy Garland when asked how she felt about her large gay fan base. That kind of blasé attitude is what cemented her status as not only a gay icon, but an icon for generations to come. With the upcoming tribute to her career and the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz at this year’s Academy Awards (featuring a performance from her three children!), we’re looking back at some of the biggest moments in Garland’s storied life:
The Wizard of Oz
The biggest no-brainer, and Garland’s breakout performance, this film adaptation was a classic from the moment it hit the screens in colour and remains a camp classic to this day. There’s a reason we’re all friends of Dorothy: from that 22-inch waist to rocking a fabulous pair of red pumps, Garland’s Dorothy will always be one for the ages.
If there’s one thing we can never get enough of, it’s a good musical. So naturally, Meet Me in St Louis is nothing short of a must-watch. Garland leads on perhaps the most iconic number, “The Trolley Song,” and with that first chirping of “clang clang” she cemented herself as a musical star.
Meant to be one of many Garland’s successful movies, this one ultimately flopped and Garland missed 99 of the 135 shoot days on set. She experienced a momentary hitch when she was placed in a private sanitarium. This is, of course, the first of many problems in Garland’s personal life. From her marital problems to drug and alcohol abuse, she could never escape the troubled life of one to whom stardom came too early.
Released in 1954, A Star Is Born marked Garland’s return to the silver screen. Though she was, unfortunately, still gripped with many personal demons, her performance is something to behold. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress but lost (though depending on whom you ask, she was robbed) to Grace Kelly.
After Garland’s television career was put on permanent hiatus, she took the stage of the London Palladium in 1964. What makes this performance so great is it marks Garland and her daughter, Liza Minnelli, performing together on the stage for the first time. Minnelli was barely 20, but you could already tell she is going to be the EGOT-star she was meant to be.
BONUS: Though we lost Judy too early, we will always have Liza. Let’s just hope she doesn’t get a case of the dizzies anytime soon.