Although her career took off following her iconic performance in The Wizard of Oz, Judy Garland struggled greatly in her personal life that she just couldn’t shake off. The issues became noticeable while she was filming Summer Stock, a film that MGM’s L.B. Mayer admitted he regretted doing.
In the new book C’mon, Get Happy: The Making of Summer Stock, authors David Fantle and Tom Johnson shared details about how Judy Garland struggled behind the scenes of Summer Stock and what happened to the actress after filming.
Fantle told Fox News Digital that he and Johnson had interviewed enough people to know the Summer Stock production was troubled. “And it was also significant in that it was Judy Garland’s final film with the only studio she knew for 15 years,” Fantle explained. “And this was the end of the proverbial road for Judy.”
The author also said he wanted to clear up a lot of misperceptions about the film. Especially those that pertained to Garland. “The common lore is that… many of the [film’s] delays were solely at Judy’s feet. Now I think in the book, we do a good job of chronicling what she caused.”
Fantle did point out that while Judy Garland was part of the production’s problem, she wasn’t the entire problem. “And I think we need to be empathetic and understand that.”
Following Summer Stock, Judy Garland was set to replace June Allyson in Royal Wedding but she failed to report on set multiple times and ended up being replaced by Jane Powell. A few months later, MGM let her go after 13 years.
Author Says Judy Garland Was Struggling in Her Personal Life During the Production of ‘Summer Stock’
Meanwhile, David Fantle revealed during the production of Summer Stock, Judy Garland had been going through a lot. This included her marriage to her second husband, Vincente Minnelli, falling apart and her struggles with addiction. The actress had allegedly been using barbiturates and amphetamines. This was in order to stay “camera-thin” as well as energetic while filming.
Fantle shared that Garland ended up growing dependent on her prescription medications. “She was going through a lot of personal emotional upheavals at that time,” he explained. “She was signed at MCM at age 13 in 1935. I think that while some child stars can go to adulthood and make that transition, many can’t.”
Fantle reflected on Judy Garland’s career and said while she was successful, she had to struggle with her personal demons. Johnson also noted that Garland struggled with body image, as she was competing with other Hollywood actresses Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner, and Lana Turner.
“She was 4’11, and she just wanted to be gorgeous,” Johnson concluded. “She would’ve sacrificed all of her talent for that in the same way that Marilyn [Monroe] would’ve pacified her beauty to be taken seriously as an actress.”
Judy Garland passed away in June 1969 at the age of 47. The cause of death was “an incautious self-overdosage” of barbiturates.
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