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Things You Never Knew About Judy Garland’s Difficult Life

The rich and famous are often assumed to be happy and have all they need, but that’s not always the case. According to a biopic of Judy Garland released a few years ago, this iconic actress struggled with drug addiction and her outer appearance since her debut in show business.

Here are some things you never knew about Judy Garland’s difficult life that were revealed in her memoir.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Wizard of Oz Was Not Her First Role

After hearing Judy Garland sing for the first time and falling in love with her voice, MGM studios’ co-founder Louis B. Mayer offered to work with her. Garland’s parents agreed without hesitation. Judy Garland landed a role in Pigskin Parade. It wasn’t until 1939 that Garland played her most iconic role as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.

The Truth Behind The Wizard of Oz

Judy Garland’s career soared after playing Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Behind the scenes of it all, Judy Garland was fed tons of drugs for various things such as weight loss, depression, and sleep, and as a result, she became depressed, isolated, and felt worthless. The author of her biography, Gerald Clarke, notes that Judy Garland was a victim of sexual harassment while she worked with MGM studios.

Judy Garland Struggled With Drugs

Judy Garland’s struggle with drugs ultimately led to her death. Mickey Deans, her fifth and final husband, discovered her body on the bathroom floor. She overdosed on prescribed medications for her anxiety and sleep disorders at just 47 years old.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Acting At A Young Age Influenced Her Appearance

Being a young actress in Hollywood is daunting, especially for women. During her first role in Pigskin Parade, Hollywood’s standards of beauty had Judy Garland insecure when big-time people in the industry called her “pig in pigtails” and encouraged her to change her appearance and lose weight. As mentioned before, she was even put on drugs for weight loss while filming The Wizard of Oz.

She Had An Abortion & Struggled With Mental Health

Judy Garland married her first husband David Rose and became pregnant soon after. Her husband convinced her that having a child would ruin her image and spotlight in Hollywood. He convinced her to get an illegal abortion. This difficult time led her to mental health difficulties and caused her to eventually step away from MGM.

After emerging in Hollywood at such a young and impressionable age, losing a child, and being a target for most of the public, Judy Garland battled mental health problems. She was treated for her anxiety and sleep disorders. Judy Garland was also reported to have several breakdowns and mental health hospital stays during the height of her career. In a simple sentence, Ray Bolger, Garland’s co-star in The Wizard of Oz, described Judy Garland’s situation as, “She just plain wore out.”

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Judy Garland Is Not Her Real Name

One of the most surprising facts that were revealed in Judy Garland’s biopic is that Judy Garland isn’t even her real name. On June 10, 1922, Frances Ethel Gumm was born. It wasn’t until after Louis B. Mayer was interested in her talent that her name was changed to Judy Garland.

As one of many Hollywood stars who have struggled with image issues, drug addiction, and premature death, Judy Garland is not alone in her struggle. Despite her tremendous talent, she had a difficult life and will be remembered for her talent.