Judy Garland died 30 years ago at the age of 47, but her following lives on. This year alone, three movies are in the works about her life. The Wizard Of Oz was back in theaters after more than a 40-year absence, and nearly every song she ever recorded has been reissued on compact disc. 60 Minutes II Correspondent Mike Wallace updated a report on Judy Garland which first aired on 60 Minutes in 1975, six years after her death.
In her short, troubled life, she went through half a dozen fortunes, married five times, and tried to commit suicide more than a dozen times.
"She got so much out of life," says daughter Liza Minnelli. "She is the only person I think I ever knew that really understood that there's just one life to live. So don't put it off. If there's possibly a way of accomplishing something, do it."
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By seven, she was on stage with her two older sisters. Already, Judy Garland, as she was renamed, had suffered one irrevocable loss: her childhood. It was sing and dance, act and work all the way, all the time. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer finally signed her when she was just 13 years old. Her first MGM film was a short called Every Sunday. That extraordinary voice, the grownup in a little girl, launched her career.
"When she matured and sheÂ…dyed her hair red, I think it started just around the end of the Andy Hardy things," says Liza. "And from then she got into Meet Me In St. Louis."
But by the time Meet Me In St. Louis was released, Judy was either overweight or underweight, and suffered from insomnia. She was taking amphetamines to keep her energy up, and she was taking sleeping pills to bring her down. She was overworked, unsure of whether she really was a star, and totally hooked on pills.
She was about to marry Vincent Minnelli, her director, and she went into psychoanalysis to help her cope with assorted anxieties and drug dependence. But she hardly worked at her psychoanalysis.
"She'd make up the most terrific stories for them," says Liza. "And she would do it in the car, going over there. She'd say, 'Now, what's a good dream? What can I say I dreamt?' And I'd say, 'Well, don't you think maybe you should tell him what you really dreamt, isn't that why you're going, so he can help you?' And she said, 'But he always looks so bored. I mean, I can't stand it if he's bored."
For years, Judy Garland had been late for work or absent altogethr, leaving studio hands, camera crews, and directors waiting. The previous year, she had undergone electroshock therapy during the filming of Annie, Get Your Gun, from which she was ultimately fired. The word spread through Hollywood: Judy Garland couldn't be depended on.
Now 30 years after her death, 60 Minutes has revisited her daughters to find out what has happened to them in the last 24 years, and to talk to them about the comeback their mother is having with a generation that wasn't even born until after she died.
"It's extraordinary. And it's absolutely, you know, I think the perfect thing to happen," says Liza. "Because her talent and her genius and her warmth is something that nobody wants to lose."
For Liza Minnelli and her half sister Lorna Luft, keeping their mother's legacy alive is a labor of love. But living with their famous mother took its toll. At the height, or the depth, of her drug addiction, both Liza and Lorna were their mother's caregivers. Both of them were witnesses to their mother's uncontrollable moods and financial predicaments. "Can you imagine being one of the biggest movie stars in the world and realizing all of a sudden that you didn't have any money? That's really devastating," says Liza.
When Judy Garland died of a drug overdose in 1969, Liza was 23 and Lorna was just 16. The sisters clung together in their very public grief, and both eventually followed their mother's path into show business. By the early '70s, both had followed their mother's path into drug addiction as well. Finally recognizing her own addiction, Lorna stopped using drugs, entered a rehabilitation program, and set about helping her sister Liza.
"Oh yes, my sister is a wonderful person," says Liza. "And she helped herself through it. She helped me through it. We've allÂ…really tried I feel to stick together and help each other."
But they haven't been sticking together for quite some time. When we sat down with Liza, she had not spoken to Lorna in three years. But for the past three years, Liza's public woes, including a disastrous stint on Broadway and a string of canceled concerts, have prompted Lorna to wonder out loud whether her sister is once again heading down a path of self-destructive behavior.
"Sometimes you have to say, if that's what you want to do, that's okay," says Lorna. "But I don't want to be a part of that. And that's okay because you know something? The door is always open, and it could all change in an hour and a half. It could all change."
If Liza and Lorna have not been able to resolve their relationship, at least for now, there is one thing that the two have always understood.
"You can't ever get in the way of talent like my mom's," asserts Liza. "No matter what people said, or what people did, or what drama was created, or what was going on. That talent will come through again, and again, and gain."
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