From her portrayal of Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz" to her concert performances, Judy Garland's fans never deserted her. Between the child star and the burnt-out singer lay years of mismanagement, misaliances and misuse. David Shipman has researched his subject, and interviewed dozens of people who have never spoken before, to bring us an account of Garland's life from childhood to death. His account talks about her unhappy childhood, her lovers (of both sexes) and mis-marriages, her abortions and suicide attempts and the deep-seated insecurity which led to her ruthless self-obsession and dependency. He also exposes the enormous lengths to which MGM studios went to preserve the image of their internationally famous star: starvation diets mixed with tranquillizers and amphetamines, a cocktail that inevitably produced erratic behaviour and a reputation for unreliability. The author also wrote "The Great Movie Stars", volumes 1, 2 and 3, "The Story of Cinema", "The Good Film and Video Guide", "Movie Talk: Who Said What About Whom in the Movies" and "Marlon Brando". He has also been Associate Editor of "Film and Filming" and he is the programme consultant to the National Film Theatre and a regular contributor to "The Independent".
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The most detailed portrait yet of this much-loved, much-troubled star
Judy Garland was one of the twentieth century's most popular entertainers. Winning fame in the 'Wizard of Oz', she made thirty six films in fifteen years, with the likes of Mickey Rooney, Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, and immortalised some of Hollywood's great songs. But her success was achieved at considerable cost. The studio subjected her to starvation diets, fed her pills to send her to sleep, and more to wake her up again. Her behaviour became erratic and she gained a reputation for unreliability. In 1950, her contract with MGM was cancelled: she was just twenty-eight.
During the 1950s and 60s, she forged a new carer, singing live in concert halls – no one who saw her perform could forget the tiny, stocky figure on stage, the huge, warm, dramatic voice and the excitement which seized her audiences. However, she was plagued by stage-fright, addicted to pills, and drinking heavily: her performances gradually deteriorated. She died, worn out and bereft of almost everything, at the age of forty-seven.
David Shipman's frank and revelatory account of the women behind the legend is based on extensive research and interviews with those who knew her, many of whom have spoken about her here for the first time. Illustrated with a remarkable selection of photographs, some previously unpublished, this is the most detailed account to date of Judy Garland's dazzling but tragic life
"…a shattering insight into the perils of stardom"
ANTHONY CURTIS, 'Financial Times'
"By far the best book about Judy Garland, assiduously researched, unhysterical in tone, sympathetic and clear sighted."
CHARLES OSBORNE, 'Sunday Telegraph'
"'Judy Garland' is the definitive populist biography."
STEPHEN BOURNE, 'Pink Paper'
"David Shipman is a trustworthy biographer who steers a tactful course between realism and admiration."
LYNN BARBER, 'Independent on Sunday'
David Shipman is a distinguished film historian and the author behind ‘The Great Movie Stars’, ‘The Story of Cinema’, ‘The Good Film and Video Guide’, and biographies of ‘Judy Garland’ and Marlon Brando.
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