It’s been 50 years since Judy Garland died and we’re still not over her death! She passed away after she accidentally overdosed on barbiturates at age 47 on June 22, 1969. However, her legacy lives on forever in her kids — Liza Minnelli, 73, Lorna Luft, 66, and Joey Luft, 64.
“My mother knew how much she was loved,” Lorna previously shared to Closer Weekly. “She was incredibly giving and when she loved, she loved hard.”
Lorna loved everything about Judy, except her addiction to drugs. “I do think that my mother was a victim of the studio system,” Lorna previously told Australia’s Studio 10 in an interview. “But it also gave her the ability to channel her talent to all of us [as an audience]. It was a real double-edged sword.”
However, Judy’s youngest daughter didn’t blame the studio for her problems. “I’ve never, ever been angry at the studio system because they really didn’t know what they were doing. They didn’t want to destroy her life. She was their biggest moneymaker!” she told Closer.
In her book, Me and My Shadows: A Family Memoir, Lorna recounted what life was like for her as a little girl when she was under Judy’s care.
“I learned to go through all of her clothes and the drapes — all the places she’d hide pills — whenever she left the house. It was my job to keep the pills locked up and give her a certain number on schedule,” she remembered. “I would count them out, so many of each color, and bring them to her with a glass of water.”
“I also had to learn to take care of her when the medications became badly imbalanced, or she overslept and went into withdrawal,” Lorna added. “When that happened, she’d sometimes pass out, or worse yet, have seizures.”
Judy’s drug addiction was so bad that it began to interfere with her career. Stevie Phillips, Judy’s manager from 1961 to 1964, said her client’s “concerts were always wonderful,” but “what came before and after was not,” in her 2015 memoir, Judy & Liza & Robert & Freddie & David & Sue & Me.
“Sometimes it was plain awful, and a few times almost tragic,” she said. In her memoir, Stevie recalled a time Judy took a bunch of pills and passed out in her bedroom after falling face-first on the edge of her glass coffee table.
“I bent over in a panic to see if she was breathing, way too scared to move or even to touch her,” Stevie wrote. “Nevertheless, I tried to take her pulse. I was so scared. I could feel nothing. I had no idea if she was dead or alive.”
It turned out that Judy was just in a deep slumber from all the pills she took, but after she slept it off she was back to her old self. When the star died in 1969, Stevie didn’t attend her funeral. “I couldn’t make myself go,” she said in her book.
However, Lorna felt different about her mother. Today, she tries to honor Judy’s legacy in everything that she does. “People don’t realize that my mother was the most positive person. She used to say, ‘Always remember that the glass is half-full,’” she said to Closer. “[Judy] had an incredible ability to make people feel and bring them joy.”
Judy was truly one of the greatest talents of all time!