Judy Garland, most notably known for her role as “Dorothy” in the 1930s whimsical epic “Wizard of Oz”, was THE actress between 1935-1955. Appearing in over 40 major motion pictures during her life on this earth, Judy’s life was sadly filled with hardship, abuse, and dark times. Tragically dying at age 47 from a barbiturate overdose, Judy was a tortured soul when she left us. Secrets are still coming out about her past to this day, and each one is more shocking than the last. Let’s take a look at 16 horrifying secrets about Judy Garland.
1.Judy referred to her contract with MGM as a “Slave Contract.” When bosses wanted the young Judy Garland to rest, they would give the starlet sleeping pills. Garland herself admitted that “After four hours they’d wake us up and give us pep pills again so we could work 72 hours in a row.”
2.MGM executives put Garland on a diet of chicken soup, coffee and cigarettes in order to keep her skinny for her role in The Wizard of Oz. It was reported that the head of the studio encouraged her to smoke up to 80 cigarettes a day to suppress her appetite.
3.Garland slashed her wrists at one point at an attempt to commit suicide.
4.In October 1953, Garland took pills for insomnia and fell asleep smoking in a bedroom. It was reported that she set the room ablaze while still passed out in the bed until her husband, Sidney Luft, called the fire department after pulling her unconscious wife from the room.
5.Garland’s addiction was so devastating to her family which included daughters, Liza Minnelli and Lorna Luft, who followed their mother into show business.
6.It was reported by Judy Garland’s ex-husband that the actors who played the Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz repeatedly molested the actress.
7.Children in the film industry during Garland’s time were expected to work 18-hour days, six days a week. Garland and co-star, Mickey Rooney would often finish a movie and start a new one hours later.
8.When Garland was 14 years old, she released her first film. Studios proceeded to tell her that she looked like a “fat little pig in pigtails”.
9.In her adult years, Judy struggled intensely with her mental health and used drugs as a crutch.
10. Her real name is actually Frances Ethel Gumm and she was born in Grand Rapids, MI in 1922.
11. She was deathly afraid of thunder (some people think of a childhood incident, but it’s unconfirmed), so she was often terrorized by her counterparts on any given set by simulated thunder outside of dressing room and/or trailer.
12. Judy was initially told she was “too fat” for the role of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, but the producers agreed to get her a personal trainer because they thought she was “perfect” for the role (only a little hypocritical, don’t you think?) Her personal trainer was Olympic swimmer Barbara “Bobbie” Koshay, and Bobbie acted as her stunt double during filming as well.
13. Even though she only lived to be 47, Judy was remarried 5 times during her short life. Due to the abuse she experienced in her early years by past lovers and employers, it was thought that she had attachment issues.
15. Judy Garland suffered from a bitter divorce in 1953 against ex-husband Sid Luft, so she hired a private-eye to keep an eye on her and her husband as a form of protection. The private eye, upon inspecting Judy’s house, the inspector found her alcohol and drug addiction was worse than anyone thought.
The private-eye recollected, “I gathered up all the bottles and locked them up. Then I began the search for pills,” he claimed. “You wouldn’t believe the cleverness of that woman in stashing her drugs so nobody could find them. And there were all kinds. Uppers, downers, and some I didn’t even recognize. They were stuffed into a hole she’d cut under the mattress and in rubber fingers tied at the top with the string tied again around the faucet of the washbasin. The pills were down in the crook of the pipe, and when she wanted them she just pulled them up by the almost invisible string. I dumped all that junk down the toilet and flushed it away.”