In 1961, Judy Garland had “the greatest night in show business history,” according to critics. At New York City’s Carnegie Hall, she stole the hearts of her fans when she performed a few of her best hits like “Over the Rainbow” and “The Man That Got Away.” By the time she took her final bow, the audience was blown away by her performance.
“At Carnegie Hall, they were just losing their minds. They were rushing the stage to touch her. I’d never seen adults act like this. It frightened me a little bit,” her then 8-year-old daughter, Lorna Luft, exclusively shared with Closer Weekly in the magazine’s latest issue, on newsstands now. “My mother knew how much she was loved.”
Lorna, now 66, remembers what a great person her mother was before Judy accidentally overdosed from sleeping pills at age 47 eight years after she took the stage in New York City. “She was incredibly giving and when she loved, she loved hard,” Lorna recalled.
At age 15, Judy’s studio doctors began to prescribe her stimulants to “cut her appetite and give her energy.” As a rising star, she found it hard to sleep so they also gave her sedatives so she could rest. Even though the medicine might have helped Judy deal with fame, she ended up developing a drug problem that took a huge toll on her family.
“They started the problem, but they didn’t know how to fix it,” Lorna explained about her mom’s doctors. “But 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!”
Now 50 years after Judy died, Lorna says she doesn’t want her mom to be remembered for the negative parts in her life. “People don’t realize that my mother was the most positive person. She used to say, ‘Always remember that the glass is half-full,’” Lorna said. “She had an incredible ability to make people feel and bring them joy.”
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