Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Judy Garland: The Woman Who Had Two Graves!

Sometimes, one grave just isn't enough.  In 2018, this blog chronicled the two graves of actor Anton Yelchin.  Taking a page from that book, the family of Hollywood royalty, Judy Garland, decided that her final resting place wasn't so final after all, and flew her remains 3,000 miles cross country.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Garland was born Frances Ethel Gumm (really) on June 10, 1922 in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.  She began her career in vaudeville with her two older sisters and quickly caught the eye of MGM Studios in Hollywood.  She'd appear in more than 45 films throughout her career, and of course, is best known for her portrayal of Dorothy Gale in the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz.  Watch the original 1939 trailer here.

Garland in 1969 shortly before her death.
By the 1960s, Garland had appeared on stage around the world, released albums, and even had her own variety series on CBS, appropriately titled The Judy Garland Show.  Watch a full-length episode here.

Garland also had no less than five husbands, including nightclub manager Mickey Deans, who she married in March 1969.  Just three months later, on June 22, he'd find her body on the floor of their rented home in London, dead at age 47.  NBC News offered this report on her passing.

Coroner Gavin Thurston attributed her death to "an incautious self-overdosage of barbituates."   Later at her funeral, Garland's Oz co-star Ray Bolger surmised that "she just plain wore out."  Yeah, drugs will do that to you.

Following a funeral in New York City that drew more than 20,000 fans, Deans had her interred at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.  She was placed in a mausoleum holding thousands of other remains, in a crypt belying her star status.  The fact that I had such easy access speaks volumes.

But 48 years after her passing, Garland's children, including Liza Minnelli, Lorna Luft and Joe Luft decided it was time for an upgrade.  The family issued a statement (!) declaring that they had decided to "bring her home" to Hollywood.  I guess there's no place like home after all.  Like Anton Yelchin, she was reburied at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, given a place of honor in the Judy Garland Pavilion.

Rest in peace Judy, finally.

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