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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars She'll always be a star
By far and away my favourite biography - and I've read alot of them. Anne Edwards does what no other writer tries to do - portrays Judy Garland as a real person and not a drug addict. She gives unbiased reasons for events and shows in her words that Judy Garland was more than just a natural star. You can't help feeling that if she had not been given pills at such a young...
Published on 1 Sept. 2001

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Very very long - too long
Interesting book, but too long and same-y. It just seems to go on and on and on.... Very sad and manipulated lady.
Published 22 months ago by Happy Kindle User


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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars She'll always be a star, 1 Sept. 2001
By A Customer
By far and away my favourite biography - and I've read alot of them. Anne Edwards does what no other writer tries to do - portrays Judy Garland as a real person and not a drug addict. She gives unbiased reasons for events and shows in her words that Judy Garland was more than just a natural star. You can't help feeling that if she had not been given pills at such a young age and the people around her had not used her, her name and money for so long, she would have lived alot longer and entertained us in her own unique way. Fantastic book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars JUDY JUDY JUDY, 20 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Judy Garland: A Biography (Kindle Edition)
A very good biography which I read very quickly as it was well written and terribly interesting. I now hate Sidney Luft and Judy's mother Ethel and Louis B Mayer for the way they used and abused Miss Garland. There is no happy ending, no rainbows end, you just wish you could go back in time and change events which affected her life so drastically.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Star Judy became and a Star Judy will remain, 18 Dec. 2000
By 
Paula Lees "ladybrum" (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This absorbing,in depth biography revealed the terrific hardships that Judy Garland had to try to overcome,and also endure during her painstakingingly difficult and drug induced life. The many people who influenced her life and not always for the right reasons, are brought to life, and one feels the empathy towards Judy who trusted too many wrong people. The pill intake that never stopped from the day the Studio got her hooked right up until her death.This was a star who burnt herself out a long time ago but kept going because she needed her audience much more than they probably ever realised. I defy anybody who reads this book not to feel emotionally entwined with Judy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chasing the rainbow, 17 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Judy Garland: A Biography (Kindle Edition)
Fascinating read, although a little depressing, in that Judy Garland's life is made out to be incredibly sad and gloomy, which I feel it couldn't possibly have been. An insight into more happier times would have improved the reading, e.g. the birth of her children or her wedding days and so on.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very very good!, 31 Aug. 2001
my sister bought a book on judy last year, and it looked really interesting. So i went out and bought my own! i read it this summer,and my heart went out to judy, all the pain she went through is immense. i reccommend this to anyone. i've just spent all morning searching for some of her music and more books!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Judy Garland: Not Just the Eternal Victim, 25 May 2015
By 
Stephanie De Pue (Wilmington, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Judy, Judy, Judy, the entertainer extraordinaire,greatly loved: movie star and stage performer. In this book, Anne Edwards suggests, think Judy, think "Eternal Victim." But that was the view held in the 70's, shortly after Garland's death: it may not be the most useful to us.

This biography is an oldie but a goodie. Edwards was a London neighbor of Judy's: she treats Judy with respect, affection, and sympathy. She's decent; discreet about some sad episodes of Judy's life about which we don't really need to know; she takes Judy's word on things. Almost all the books written about Judy up until Edwards' focused on Judy's use of booze and drugs, her scandals. Edwards was the first to try to convey the complexity of the woman, the heart and soul of this great talent. If you want a better, later, more complete chronicle of Judy's career, you might want to read John Fricke's "Judy Garland, Art and Anecdote." But Edwards' book stands on its own; it captures the warmth, the essence of this remarkable performer. Edwards has written several show business biographies, of Katherine Hepburn and Vivien Leigh, among others. She may not rake all the dirt that's to be found, but she's consistently compassionate, interviews many people, and writes smoothly and well.

So, Judy Garland, born Frances Gumm, sang "Jingle Bells" on the vaudeville stage at two 1/2 years old, and was greeted rapturously. She was supporting her family by the time she was four. She wasn't born a beautiful child, but she was born with a great big beautiful voice. She was born to Ethel, who would be a strong candidate for worst stage mother ever. Her father, Francis, was a weak and charming Irishman: later Judy was to bring up suppressed memories of finding him engaged in homosexual activities.

At the age of twelve, an overweight, not very pretty Judy sang "Zing Went the Strings of My Heart" to the terrifying Louis B. (LB) Mayer, tyrant of the powerhouse film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. He signed her, but didn't quite know what to do with her until he decided to try pairing her with the equally young Mickey Rooney. Starting with "Love Finds Andy Hardy," she made a string of popular depression-era movies with Rooney, who was paid better than ten times her salary. (LB, Judy's mother Ethel, and Judy's tame agent seemed to keep setting her salary very low, during all the years Judy was making a fortune for them.)

Edwards states that young Judy was 5'2"; Judy's fans say she was 4'9". Thinking she should weigh no more than 98 pounds, the studio put her on a starvation diet, including drugs. Soon they would discover that the easiest way to enable her to work the long hard hours they demanded was to put her on more drugs, uppers and downers, to wake and to sleep. She was to struggle all her life with weight, and drug issues; ballooning to 150 pounds, then shrinking to frightening frailty. Over the years, she would require quite a few expensive hospitalizations for her physical, mental and emotional problems: LB hated to pay for them, and she paid for many herself. The studio would eventually find the drug addiction they'd created inconvenient: it interfered with their movie-making. They suspended her several times, removed her from several movies, and finally fired her. Garland, unfortunately, was to find her drug addictions a lifelong burden that probably stole quite a few years from her life: she died at 47 years of age in 1969 (she was born in 1922).

LB was reputed to be attracted to very young girls, as were Charlie Chaplin and Errol Flynn. Mayer was also known to find young girls he had, Pygmalian-like, molded, particularly alluring. There was persistent "below stars" gossip, among those who generally knew, that he made himself more than just Judy's boss before she was 15.

All her life, Judy continued to support her family: she thought she should. When she finally got herself a better agent, the famed Leland Hayward, and a better salary, Ethel just took more. She made bad investments with Judy's money, neglected to pay her daughter's income taxes, married William Gilmore, and housed and supported him, too, on Judy's money.

Garland's greatest early triumph, still widely viewed and loved, was surely "The Wizard of Oz." When she made this, she was already 16, and had a woman's body; the studio's wardrobers bound her breasts so she could play the pre-pubescent "Dorothy." At one point, Judy nearly lost her immortal song "Somewhere over the Rainbow," but in the end it stayed in, made unforgettable by the palpable, wistful yearning with which the young Judy sang it. It made Judy a star.

The studio kept her busy, so she was schooled on the set, during breaks. She was allowed to finish up at Hollywood High. She was eagerly looking forward to her graduation: she'd even bought the dress. She was told by studio publicity that it was not to be. She was required to go on a promotional tour for her latest movie with Mickey. Orders from LB.

The star went on to make "Babes in Arms," "Strike Up the Band," "Babes on Broadway," "Girl Crazy, " and others with Rooney, making the studio pots of money. She had her first adult romance with handsome young Tyrone Power. LB broke that one up. She eloped at age 19 with David Rose, a well-known musician, formerly married to comedienne Martha Raye, setting the template for a lifelong pattern of marrying impetuously, men who were, or might have been, gay; men who she hoped would love and protect her, but, who, generally, ended up taking the studio's side, and/or living off her earnings.

After making "Babes on Broadway" she found herself pregnant. The studio insisted she get an abortion, so that she could go right into the Busby Berkeley-directed "For Me and My Gal" immediately. That was the end of her marriage to Rose.

Now, mind you, none of these musicals, so delightful to sit through, were easy for this frail, drug-addicted girl to make. They required heavy singing and dancing for a 98-pound weakling. But she agreed to make "Meet Me in St. Louis," another great triumph, directed by young Vincente Minnelli. She had talked the studio into hiring young unknown Gene Kelly for "For Me and My Gal." He would appear with her in the Minnelli-directed "The Pirate," and four more movies. She also talked the studio into allowing her to make a rare non-musical( though directed by Minnelli), "The Clock," co-starring Robert Walker. By accident or design, the plot of this picture seems to echo her habit of marrying in haste... She made the memorable "Easter Parade,"and its great song "A Couple of Swells," with Fred Astaire in 1948: it took a lot out of her.

The studio, and her coworkers, were growing increasingly intolerant of Judy's drug problems, and she was beginning to be suspended. She married Minnelli, hoping he, too might protect her, but he too was a studio man, and worked her as hard as anyone had. Another marriage gone. At least she walked away from that one with her daughter Liza Minnelli, who was to be a great comfort and protector to her, and cared for her as well as anyone could have.

When MGM dropped her, she was still to make fine movies: Stanley Kubrick's "Judgment at Nurenberg," for United Artists. And her last masterpiece, the George Cukor directed "A Star is Born," costarring James Mason, for Warner Brothers. However, she was substantially to support herself, and everyone else, with her legendary stage appearances, her night club work, and her radio/television work. She played London's Palladium, and Talk of The Town; New York's Palace Theater, Metropolitan Opera House, and Carnegie Hall, the Curran in San Francisco. She worked frequently in Europe, audiences there were as loyal to her as they were in America. Still there were continuing tax difficulties, and her health was never to be good again. She married hustling Sid Luft, who was also to work her hard, and live off her earnings, but at least he fathered Lorna and Joe. He got her a brief-lived tv show; at the time it didn't seem a good fit, but in retrospect it has come to be considered a repository of masterly performances, not only hers, but also of her outstanding guests, Lena Horne, Barbra Streisand, Peggy Lee, Tony Bennett, Ethel Merman, Count Basie. Sid Luft is now generally credited with making her great stage appearances, the Palladium and Carnegie Hall, and these TV shows, widely and continuously available to her many fans.

When, later in life, she met Marilyn Monroe, she had the greatest sympathy for her, recognizing her as another woman who'd paid too much for Hollywood stardom and who was probably to pay still more. She had odd relationships with very gay 50's crooner Johnnie Ray, and the talented Australian entertainer Peter Allen. Allen, who later died of AIDS, is frequently mentioned as having been a protege of Judy's before he married her daughter Liza. Judy is considered to have had a great eye for talent. In addition to recognizing Gene Kelly and Peter Allen, she, and Liza between them, found Streisand, who remains grateful.

Garland was also known to have had a great sense of humor: check her appearances on Jack Paar, Merv Griffin, and Mike Douglas. In 2002, Ann Miller, Lorna Luft, Margaret O'Brien and Mickey Rooney appeared on the Larry King Show to talk about how funny Judy could be.

Married five times in all, Garland died rather young, worn out from work, drugs and unaddressed health problems. Were she living today, when we recognize her addictions as serious health issues and try to ameliorate them, she might be living still, aged 84. But, until almost the very end of her life, she was capable of pulling herself together to give those legendary stage appearances, such as the Carnegie Hall in 1961.

Was she an "Eternal Victim?" Anne Edwards seemed to think so. And you can usefully say that the destructive actions and machinations of her mother, and Judy's childhood in the harsh studio system of MGM, produced a person who simply did not know how to defend herself, aside from working as hard as she could. Her untreated addictions, and other health problems weakened her. But Judy always dealt with her life with humor, always enjoyed live performance and the love of the audience that it brought her. So maybe we should remember her as a great star who gave of her best.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very sad but such an interesting read, 19 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: Judy Garland: A Biography (Kindle Edition)
Very sad but such an interesting read. I always knew her life had been difficult but didnt realise how much she had been used and abused. MGM should be very ashamed at how they treated their actors back then! There seemed to be very few people in her personal life who didnt use her, so much talent - she seemed to be a gravy train for those close to her. Did she ever find true happiness? From the book, it would appear not.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Judy a star, 16 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Judy Garland: A Biography (Kindle Edition)
Loved learning about Judy life, what an amazing women. Wizard of oz is my favourite movie. Such a shame what happened to Judy but never forgotten
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5.0 out of 5 stars VERY GOOD, 30 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Judy Garland: A Biography (Kindle Edition)
This biography apart from the facts that it is well researched, is well written to the point of being heart warming -how this poor woman was cheated and exploited, a wonderful book
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5.0 out of 5 stars a great and yet sorrowful read, 31 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Judy Garland: A Biography (Kindle Edition)
A very good and open biography of one of the 20th centuries biggest stars. It candidly outlines the tragedy of Judy's life, from beginning to end, and shames those whom were guilty of riding the 'Garland Gravy-train'
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