Judy Garland had a lengthy career spanning several decades, during which she starred in a wide variety of critically acclaimed films.
However, “The Wizard of Oz” is the one that has brought her the most fame. Garland’s career in Hollywood began at a tender age.
When she appeared in The Wizard of Oz, how old was she, and how long did her acting career last?
Judy Garland was Starred in the classic film “The Wizard of Oz”
The Wizard of Oz, a fantasy film adapted from L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, was released in 1939.
Garland played the title role of Dorothy Gale, a little girl who lives in Kansas with her aunt and uncle.
After a tornado whisks her away to the Emerald City, she must figure out how to return to Kansas (with the help of a few friends).
Adult actors frequently portray adolescents in modern media. However, they weren’t the ones that played Dorothy and the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz.
Garland was only 16 years old throughout production, which took place in late 1938 and early 1939.
She joined MGM when she was 13, and she and Ava Gardner and Elizabeth Taylor all went to studio-sponsored classes.
Did she have any issues as a youngster on set?
The (claimed) production history of The Wizard of Oz has become almost as well known as the film’s actual plot.
There were numerous cast and director changes, as well as the mythical suicide of a dwarf actor, all of which contributed to the show’s extended runtime. Garland’s personal experience, though…
Again, there are contrasting accounts. The folks who worked with Garland in The Making of the Wizard of Oz described her as “one of the happiest people I’ve ever met,” “simply delightful,” and “lighthearted.”
Years later, though, Garland “talked angrily” about the encounter, and she shared her feelings with her closest coworkers.
Garland became famous because of ‘The Wizard of Oz.
MGM had no clue back in 1939 that The Wizard of Oz would become the box office smash that it is today.
When casting Dorothy, Garland wasn’t the studio’s first (or even second) choice. The actor’s legendary stature in Hollywood was assured by her performance in “Over the Rainbow” and the enduring appeal of the film’s fanciful tale.
At the age of 17, Garland won an honorary Academy Award for her performances in The Wizard of Oz and other films that year, such as Babes in Arms, for which she received the Academy Juvenile Award.
She kept on filming and promoting MGM movies after that. She, like many of her fellow stars at the time, relied on narcotics to help them perform at a high level.
How old was she when Garland passed away?
Garland and MGM broke up just over a decade after the release of The Wizard of Oz. She returned to the stage and resurrected her career.
When she eventually moved back to Hollywood, it was to star in the 1954 version of A Star Is Born, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award.
The Judy Garland Show, one of her subsequent works, was nominated for an Emmy. Garland passed away at the age of 47 in 1969, 30 years after her breakthrough role.
An unintentional overdose led to death.
According to Aljean Harmetz, author of The Making of the Wizard of Oz (via Time), “I doubt the catastrophe that became her life in her latter years would have happened if she was a normal youngster, permitted to go to a normal school and not enter into the profession until she was an adult.”