“My father was like a tough guy out of Guys and Dolls, and my mother felt that was a lot of fun,” Judy Garland and Sid Luft‘s daughter Lorna Luft exclusively reveals to Closer Weekly in the magazine’s latest issue, on newsstands now. “They loved each other and had a real bond, but their relationship could be volatile because my dad had a temper and wouldn’t say no… and she had a temper and wouldn’t say no. So that got interesting!”
Judy and Sid’s turbulent 13-year marriage — her third, and the longest of her five unions by far — is examined in the upcoming Showtime documentary Sid & Judy, airing October 18. “Sid has been accused of being an alcoholic, gambling and stealing [Judy’s] money, and all of those things are probably true,” director Stephen Kijak tells Closer. “But what is also true is that they had a great respect and love for each other. He really did cherish her talent and helped her achieve a lot of great things through that partnership.”
By the time they met in 1950, Judy’s life and career were in a downward spiral after years of drugs, alcohol and bad relationships. MGM had recently suspended her, and “Judy’s attempt at suicide was considered a bid for attention” by the studio, producer Sid wrote in his posthumously published memoir, Judy and I.
Like several men before him, Sid tried to save Judy from her demons and for more than a decade, he largely succeeded. When movie roles dried up, he staged comeback shows that reconfirmed her brilliance and fed the love she craved from audiences.
In 1954, two years after they wed, he produced the classic musical remake of A Star Is Born that earned Judy an Oscar nomination. And, most importantly, he fathered her daughter Lorna in 1952 and son Joey in 1955.
Sadly, Judy suffered from postpartum depression and slit her throat after Lorna’s birth. “I didn’t want to die — I had a baby to live for. It was just that the pressure had been too much for me,” said Judy, who died in 1969 at age 47.
Though they had divorced in 1965, “their connection was real,” says Stephen. “Whatever their traumas were behind the scenes, this intense collaboration produced some of her great second-act victories.”
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