Monday, June 10, 2013

June 10 - Judy Garland

Actress and singer Judy Garland was born Frances Ethel Gumm on June 10, 1922, in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, to vaudevillian parents. Spotted while performing with her two older sisters, she was signed at age 13 to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which teamed her with Mickey Rooney in a series of “backyard musicals.” Both actors were regularly given amphetamines to meet filming schedules, coupled with barbiturates to sleep at night. Standing only 4’ 11” and lacking the beauty of other young actresses of the time, her deep insecurity about herself was worsened by MGM’s decision to cast her as the “girl next door,” dressed in plain or juvenile costumes. The studio also forced her to wear removable caps on her teeth and used rubberized disks to reshape her nose. At age 15 she was cast as Dorothy Gale in “The Wizard of Oz” (1939) only because Shirley Temple and Deanna Durbin were unavailable. Judy initially wore a blond wig and heavy, "baby-doll" makeup for the part. Her blue gingham dress was chosen to downplay her physical appearance.

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