Judy Garland

There is no one like Judy Garland. The voice, the glamour, the tragedy. She is the nonpareil of damaged resilience. An empathic icon of marginalized people, Garland was a hero to many…but couldn’t save herself. Judy’s anguish manifested in her incredible stage presence as well as social activism.  

Judy was a gay icon long before her death on June 22, 1969. (Claims that her passing sparked the Stonewall Riots a week later are still debated.) Garland’s life strongly resonated with that community, while she empathized with her audience and their struggles: The pain of leading a double life. The psychic cost of repressed emotions. The need to be loved authentically. 

Garland was also committed to the Civil Rights Movement. She supported the 1963 March on Washington, using her connections to help organize and fundraise alongside Josephine Baker, Sidney Poitier, Lena Horne, Paul Newman, Rita Moreno, and Sammy Davis, Jr.  

Weeks later, the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing killed four children and injured dozens in Birmingham, Alabama. Garland rallied friends, family, and the public to raise money for hospital bills and funeral costs of blast victims. 

Judy Garland channeled her own heartache into strengthening other people. She used her celebrity to address inequalities and her performances to uplift audiences. The raw power, emotion, and relatability of her voice–on and off screen–still touches people. 

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End of the Rainbow

This 2005 musical drama portrays the last tour—and months—of Garland’s life. Hopes around her “comeback” dissolve into tragedy, as Garland struggles–and ultimately loses–against addiction. The play received three Tony nominations and four Olivier nominations, including Best Play, and was the basis of the 2019 film Judy starring Renée Zellweger.

Judy at Carnegie Hall

This live recording of Garland from 1961 has been called “the greatest night in show business history.” Featuring famous and favorite tunes, Judy’s two-hour tour de-force spent 73 weeks on the Billboard charts and won five Grammy Awards. You can also check out this title as eAudio on Hoopla.

Judy Garland on Judy Garland

Garland’s interviews and writings from 1935 to 1969: from her first radio appearance, to her last known interview just months before her death. Famously controlled by movie studios, Judy Garland wanted her story told in her own words. These documents–the closest we will come to a Garland autobiography–are proof of that. You can also check out this title as eBook on OverDrive/Libby or as eBook on Hoopla.

A Star Is Born: Judy Garland and the Film That Got Away

Judy’s daughter tells the story of “A Star Is Born,” the crowning achievement and greatest disappointment in her mother’s legendary career. A fascinating behind-the-scenes look at Garland’s favorite film and its tragic impact on her life and career.