Old School Americana & Nostalgia


‘The Wizard of Oz’: Judy Garland Went to Extremes to Cope with Intense Production Schedule

‘The Wizard of Oz’: Judy Garland Went to Extremes to Cope with Intense Production Schedule

Although The Wizard of Oz turned out to be a masterpiece, the creation of the classic film wasn’t easy, especially for young actress Judy Garland.

According to author Alijean Harmet, Judy Garland experienced extreme stress while filming the iconic movie. In his book, The Making of The Wizard of Oz, Harmet noted there were no unions to help the cast and crew at the time. “Stars and lesser players were indentured servants for studios,” Harmet wrote. 

In an effort to handle her stress, Garland would consume large amounts of caffeine. She would also take sleeping pills to cope with everything. Eventually, this led to other prolonged issues in the young actress’ life. 

Along with Judy Garland’s extreme stress situations and self-medicated approaches, other actors on the set dealt with intense incidents. One of which was Buddy Ebsen, the original actor who was cast as the Tin Man. He was rushed to the hospital nine days into production after he accidentally ingested aluminum dust. The dust was associated with his tin-like makeup. 

Margaret Hamilton, the Wicked Witch actress, also experienced issues with her makeup. The greenness would end up staining her skin and would stay on for months. Hamilton was also burned on the set.

Judy Garland’s Daughter Liza Minnelli Once Spoke About ‘Highs and Lows’ Of Her Childhood with ‘The Wizard of Oz’ Actress 

In a 2019 interview with Vogue, Liza Minnelli, the daughter of Judy Garland, reflected on being raised by The Wizard of Oz actress. 

“One of the biggest misconceptions about my mama is that she didn’t provide me a happy childhood,” Minnelli said about Garland. “There were highs and lows for sure, but I can say I was very happy. If people choose to believe that or not, it’s up to them, but I know I was happy.”

Also speaking about The Wizard of Oz cast experiencing some horrible conditions on set, Minnelli stated it happened during a very different era. “Times have changed dramatically, especially in terms of equal pay – there is no comparison”

Minnelli noted that while her mother won the audience’s love and support through her Oz role, she had a difficult time getting the attention of studio bosses. While comparing Garland to actresses Ava Garner, Lana Turner, and Elizabeth Taylor, Minnelli had some thoughts. “Judy was the big money-maker at the time, a big success, but she was the ugly duckling.” 

Minnelli went on to add that, thanks to her parents, all she has known in her life is show business. “Nearly everybody my parents knew were in showbusiness,” she pointed out. “So, by default, when I was growing up, nearly everybody I met was in the industry.”