By Alex Jones
POIGNANT photos capture the turbulent last year of showbiz legend Judy Garland’s life where she fought a fierce legal battle, got married for the fifth time, and collapsed whilst on honeymoon before she died following an accidental overdose aged just 47 – a tragic tale due to be portrayed by Hollywood A-lister Renee Zellweger in the upcoming biopic Judy.
Moving images, taken just before her untimely death, show the ‘Over a Rainbow’ singer cuddling with her daughter Liza Minnelli, dazzling press photographers in a fabulous trouser suit whilst embroiled in a contractual dispute; and gazing lovingly at her husband Mickey Deans whilst dancing on their wedding day.
Within a year of her wedding photos being snapped, the world-famous singer and actor would be dead. She died on June 22, 1969, a little over fifty years ago. She has left behind a remarkable, but troubled, legacy.
The star-studded film Judy, due for release this September in the US, will focus on the last 12 months of the “Wizard of Oz” and “A Star Is Born” actress’ extraordinary life.
Her own story began at a remarkably young age, she started acting as a toddler, and became famous practically overnight at the age of 20, after starring as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. She worked for 45 of her 47 years after finding an affinity for singing at just 30 months old.
She subsequently struggled throughout her life with depression and drug addiction, and died at the age of 47 from an accidental drug overdose. She had attempted suicide on countless occasions. A rollercoaster career also saw go through four painful divorces as well as numerous mental breakdowns, kidney failures, fluctuating weight battles (to both extremes) and perpetual exhaustion.
Constantly under the glare of spotlight, Judy suffered heavily under the weight of stardom. She would force herself to perform despite debilitating stage fright and was renowned for bailing on contracts or commitments with no forewarning. Her career ranged from being booed off stage for forgetting her lines to academy nominations, the red carpet, and total celebrity.
Judy takes place in 1968, the year before Garland’s death, and focuses on her final series of concerts in London. Leaving behind her children – which haunted her – and the chaos of her career on the far side of the Atlantic, she arrived in London to perform at the ‘Talk of the Town’ restaurant in a bid to sort out her finances, mental health, and love life.
These seldom seen pictures were recently unearthed by TopFoto’s photographic vaults in Kent.