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Judy Garland (Frances Gumm) lived her life in the public eye, beginning at the age of two when she stole the show from her vaudeville parents by singing “Jingle Bells.” As “Baby Gumm” she stood out in the trio with her sisters and was given an MGM contract at thirteen without a screen test. When she starred in The Wizard of Oz in 1939 and sang “Over the Rainbow” she was only 16. What followed was a series of energetic musical films with Mickey Rooney, starring roles in great, glossy musicals, such as Meet Me In St. Louis (1944), where she introduced “The Trolley Song,” “The Boy Next Door,” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and The Harvey Girls (1946), where she introduced “On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe”.

The songstress made headlines with several marriages, her own TV show, and hundreds of concert appearances, including the 1961 Carnegie Hall show which garnered five Grammy awards. Her list of accomplishments in the 47 years that she lived is nothing less than amazing. Garland was also recognized for her dramatic skills, nominated for Best Actress in A Star Is Born and Best Supporting Actress for Judgment at Nuremberg.

Garland was highly admired in the gay community and her death is often credited with sparking the riots that occurred between raiding police and mourning fans at the gay bar, Stonewall Inn, in New York’s Greenwich Village in 1969.

-- Sandra Burlingame

Courtesy of JazzStandards.com

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