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Judy Garland Biography

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Judy Garland (born Frances Ethel Gumm; June 10, 1922 – June 22, 1969) was an American film actress considered by many to be one of the greatest singing stars of Hollywood's Golden Era of musical film. Garland's singing voice had a natural vibrato, which she was able to maintain at extremely low volume. The effects which she was able to project enabled her to convey a wide range of emotion when she interpreted a song. The American Film Institute named Garland among the Greatest Female Stars of All Time, ranking at No. 8.

Garland was (and still is) a gay icon; she always had a large base of fans in the gay community. During a press conference in San Francisco in the 1960s, a reporter asked Garland if she was aware of her loyal gay following. "I couldn't care less," she said. "I sing to people."

On the evening of her funeral (June 27, 1969), gay men fought back against police during a routine raid at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village, which set off the gay liberation movement. Since then, Gay Pride events during the month of June have commemorated the Stonewall riots.

Although Garland's death is often noted as a cause of one of the key events of the modern gay rights movement, it is more likely a coincidence (see also Friends of Dorothy). Nevertheless, Garland's death, funeral and its links (coincidental or not) to Stonewall have become a part of LGBT history and lore.

Garland's legacy is alive in her two performing daughters and in her two grandchildren: Lorna Luft's son Jesse, born in 1984 and daughter Vanessa, born in 1990.

In the decades following her death, Garland's fame and star power has persisted; resulting in biopics such as Rainbow (1978) and Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows (2001) (based on her daughter Lorna's memoirs). Garland was portrayed in the former by Andrea McArdle and in the latter by both Tammy Blanchard and Judy Davis (who both won Emmys for their roles).

It was reported during the late 1990's that Annette Bening was trying to get a film made about Garland's later years titled "Rainbow's End [9]." However, due to the production of Me and My Shadows, Bening's project never came to fruition.

The film Little Voice (1998) starring Jane Horrocks, Ewan McGregor and Michael Caine featured Horrocks imitating Garland as an integral part of the plot.

In 1999, the American Film Institute honored her in their broadcast of American Film Institute's 50 Greatest Screen Legends in which they ranked her #8 of all time greatest actresses.

In 2003 she was portrayed by Isabel Keating in the Tony winning Broadway production of The Boy From Oz starring Hugh Jackman as Peter Allen and Stephanie J. Block as Liza Minnelli.

In 2004, Garland was honored by an excellent two-hour documentary, "Judy Garland: By Myself", aired as part of the PBS American Masters series. The episode is rebroadcast from time to time on PBS, and among other fascinating archival footage, includes rare concert footage (taken from various audience home movie cameras), family home movies, performances from The Judy Garland Show, and audio recollections from friends including Mickey Rooney, Ann Miller and June Allyson (all taken from previous documentaries).

In 2005 singer-actress Linda Eder recorded an album as a tribute to Garland, entitled By Myself: The Songs of Judy Garland. The same year, singer Caroline O'Connor portrayed Garland in the critically acclaimed Australian play End of The Rainbow. The play charted the final months of Judy's life and featured some of her most memorable songs. The following year, actress Adrienne Barbeau brought the play to a successful Off-Broadway run, this time under the title The Property Known As Garland. Judy is the subject of O'Connor's fourth studio album, A Tribute to Garland and she is to reprise the role at the 2006 Edinburgh Festival.

Later that year, 24-year old anonymous writer-performer Billyboy launched his wildly creative and equally controversial podcast tribute to Garland. Entitled The Entertainment Beat with Frances Gumm [10], the show has become an underground sensation, prompting articles for The Advocate and various online publications, and interviews with GLBT podcasters and radio stations around the world.

In 2006 Rufus Wainwright also paid tribute to Garland by recreating her 1961 Carnegie Hall concert. There were mixed reactions from both critics and Garland fans. Sarah Jessica Parker, John Waters, and Lorna Luft were among those in attendance.

Andrew Lloyd Webber based the "Final Broadcast" reprise of "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" from Evita on an unsuccessful Garland performance at London's Talk of the Town nightclub in 1969.[11].

September 2006 Garland was named 2nd Greatest Starlet in a Yahoo movie poll in between Kiera Knightly, in 1st place and Scarlett Johansen in 3rd place [12]

Female singers to list Garland as a major influence in their career include Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler, Shirley Bassey, Linda Eder, Mireille Mathieu, Cyndi Lauper, Melissa Manchester, Maura O'Connell and Christina Aguilera. Male singers to name Garland as an inspiration include Tony Bennett, Rufus Wainwright, and Michael Jackson.

Of Garland's five marriages, the first four ended in divorce. Her children are Liza Minnelli (now a legendary singer and actress in her own right)born March 1946, Lorna Luft (also an acclaimed singer), and Joey Luft (a scenic photographer, born March 29, 1955 in Los Angeles, California).

Although she had recorded scores of singles of her hit songs for Decca Records since the mid-1930's, Garland began recording albums for Capitol Records in the 1950's. Her first album reached number 3 on the Billboard 200 and was very successful. Judy at Carnegie Hall charted for 73 weeks on the Billboard chart (including 13 weeks at number one), was certified gold, and took home five Grammy Awards (including Album of the Year and Best Female Vocal Performance). Many regard Garland's Capitol recordings as her best vocal work. Capitol Records has recently re-released many of the albums on CD and they have proven to be a popular item for many a Garland fan.
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