But she seemed to be recovering from the effects of this fiasco when sometime during the night of June 22, 1969, she stumbled in the bathroom of her London apartment. She was found dead in the morning by Deans. The official coroner’s verdict attributed her death to an accidental overdose of sleeping pills. But Ray Bolger, Dorothy’s Scarecrow friend in THE WIZARD OF OZ, commented: “She just plain wore out.” Thousands of bereaved fans jammed the vicinity of the Manhattan funeral home where her body lay in state.
Born Frances Gumm in Minnesota in 1922, Garland came from a vaudeville family and was introduced to the stage at just two years old. The act become the Gumm sisters, although Baby Frances was clearly the one audiences wanted to see and hear. A visit to Chicago was an important step for the girls, with the youngest once more attracting the most attention; here, at the urging of comedian George Jessel, they changed their name to the Garland Sisters. On their return to Los Angeles in 1934 the sisters played a successful engagement at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Soon afterwards Frances was personally auditioned by Louis B. Mayer, head of M-G-M. Deeply impressed, Mayer signed the girl before she had even taken a screen test. Frances now became Judy Garland.
All music by Tyler Kinney. Recorded in parts and times unknown. Tyler Kinney’s webpage at: nohandstv.com.