On This Gay Day: Singer and actor Judy Garland died in 1969

Judy Garland died on this day in 1969

Judy Garland died in her London apartment on this day in 1969, she was aged just 47 but she’d already had a massive career in Hollywood and on the stage.

Garland found fame as a child star, most famously appearing as Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz. She was born Frances Gumm and began her career performing alongside her two older sisters in a vaudeville act. She moved from being a child star into one of Hollywood’s leading ladies of the 1940s and 1950s.

She often appeared alongside Mickey Rooney, and screen idol Gene Kelly, and collaborated several times with her second husband director Vincente Minnelli. Her memorable films include Easter Parade, A Star is Born, Meet Me in St Louis and many others. While she is remembered for the many musicals she starred in, Garland also took on dramatic roles, as was nominated for a Oscar for her role in Judgement at Nuremberg.

She was the first woman to win a Grammy for Album of the Year, the youngest person to be awarded the Cecile B. Demille Lifetime Achievement Award, and had her own TV variety show that is still being replayed today.

Throughout her life Garland struggled with mental health and substance abuse issues. She was often let go from films because she was unable to complete them, replaced by other actors.

She was married five times, and had three children. Her daughters Liza Minnelli and Lorna Luft have gone on to be stars in their own right.

Garland’s death was ruled an accidental overdose of barbiturates, a result of many years of substance abuse. Throughout her career Garland had always enjoyed a huge following from gay men, which only increase in the years after her death.

In the 1960’s Garland was asked by a reporter how she felt about her homosexual following. “I couldn’t care less. I sing to people!” she replied.

It’s often been reported that the Stonewall Riots which occurred on June 28th 1969, were sparked by Garland’s death but this has been determined to be largely folklore. Composer Stephen Merritt from The Magnetic Fields wrote the song ’69: Judy Garland about the idea that the two events were connected.

OIP Staff

You can support our work by subscribing to our Patreon
or contributing to our GoFundMe campaign.