Garland's complex life and extraordinary career have been written
about countless times. Yet her autobiography was never published.
What remains of Garland's story, told in her own words, are tapes
she made in preparation for her book. Portions of those tapes,
as well as excerpts from numerous interviews conducted with Garland
over her lifetime, will be included in AMERICAN MASTERS Judy Garland:
By Myself, a co-production with Turner Entertainment that airs
February 25, 2004 at 9 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings).
Below are excerpts of some of those interviews:
On Being Judy Garland
Do you realize how many people have talked
about me, written about me, imitated me, told my children that they
know me, they know Judy Garland. I honestly don't know why I've been
made the victim of so many untruths. Well, it's high time to stop the
trolley ride, because I, Judy Garland, am gonna talk. And everybody
better just sit on the bench and watch the ball game.
From the day I was born, my mother always
took great delight in telling rooms full of people how she did everything
to get rid of me, she must have rolled down 19,000 flights of stairs,
jumped off tables, and for some reason I was a very stubborn child,
and was not about to be shaken loose. So when it became too cumbersome
for her to roll down any more stairs, when she was eight-and-a-half
months pregnant, she more or less became resolved because she knew that
she was going to have a little boy. Having had two daughters she thought,
well it's the only way she could possibly accept this ghastly thing
that had happened was that she have a son.
The reason I can remember so many of these things in such a short
space of time and so early in my life, was it was the only tranquil,
happy time my family and I ever had [during her childhood in Grand Rapids].
Anyway, for such a mixed up life later, it started out beautifully,
On Public Life
My life, my career has been like a roller
coaster. I'm either an enormous success or just a down-and-out failure,
which is silly, you know, because everyone always asks me: "How
does it feel to make a comeback?" And I don't know where I've
been. I haven't been away. I've been working all the time. Every time
I go to the powder room I have to make a comeback.
On Her Health
My liver was fine. My blood was fine. My
heart was fine. And just everything was great. The only thing was that
I was a nervous wreck and was suffering terrific malnutrition and fatigue.
We came to the last test and they said, "We're going to take an
electroencephalogram to record if there is a tumor or any kind of growth
or anything like that in the brain." And I thought, "Oh my
God, I passed all the tests, now they're going to record my brain,
and they'll get down on paper my thoughts and I'm a dead pigeon because
they'll never let me out of here."
I think my only anger is that it's just been such damn foolishness
about the difficulties. I've been working for 43 years. Now, if I
were as difficult or as ill, I wouldn't have been able to be working
for 43 years. So I think it's time to put a stop to that.
THIRTEEN/WNET NEW YORK GOES BEYOND THE HEADLINES
TO REVEAL THE WOMAN BEHIND THE STAR IN AMERICAN MASTERS JUDY GARLAND:
BY MYSELF, FEBRUARY 25, 2004 AT 9 P.M. ON PBS
Broadway's The Boy From Oz Star Isabel Keating Is Voice Of Garland
Features Extensive MGM Archival Material, Rare Radio Interviews, Never-Before-Seen
Outtakes, Childhood Performances, Extended Versions Of Garland's Greatest
Hits, And Rarely Seen Clips From Garland's CBS Series Featuring Barbra
Streisand, Tony Bennett, Lena Horne, Mickey Rooney, and Ethel Merman
a late night, amid the craziness of the 1960s, and see a vulnerable,
largely misunderstood woman in her 40s. She's at home, or maybe on
the road - again. One thing is certain: she's alone, with just her
thoughts for company, speaking randomly into a tape recorder. "I'm just
trying to get a few things down," she says. "I'm all by myself,
as usual. I don't know if anybody is interested but I am. I'm just trying
to be heard." The woman is Judy Garland, and heard she is, in AMERICAN
MASTERS Judy Garland: By Myself, the first film that has drawn on Judy
Garland's own words to tell her story. Pulled largely from recordings
Garland made in preparation for an autobiography she never finished,
By Myself is in a unique position to reveal Garland as she saw herself.
"Do you realize how many people have talked about me, written about
me, imitated me?" Garland says in the two-hour AMERICAN MASTERS
documentary. "Well, it's high time to stop. This is the story
of my life and I, Judy Garland, am gonna talk."
AMERICAN MASTERS Judy Garland: By Myself premieres February 25, 2004
at 9 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings). The film is a co-production
with Turner Entertainment Co., directed by AMERICAN MASTERS creator
and executive producer Susan Lacy, written by Lacy and Stephen Stept,
and produced by Lacy and John Fricke. Actress Isabel Keating - currently
starring as Judy Garland opposite Hugh Jackman in Broadway's record-breaking
hit The Boy From Oz - provides the voice of Garland. Character actor
Harris Yulin is the narrator.
"When I started working on this film I - like millions of others
- thought I knew Judy Garland," says Lacy. "Although continually
struck by her incredible star power, I was equally intrigued by the
stories of her kindness and vulnerability, especially when it came
to her children. She was a deep, complicated and very 'human' individual.
I hope the film will help people focus on her extraordinary gifts and
offer insights into her interior life, as well as why her work has
touched millions and continues to do so 35 years after her death."
Judy Garland: By Myself goes well beyond a biographical recounting of
a star's rise and fall by interweaving Garland's personal story with
discerning parallels from her films. An extended sequence from A Star
Is Born, intercut with Garland's own thoughts, echoes her own broken
marriages, extended bouts with addiction, spectacular comebacks and
Of A Star Is Born, Garland - divorced, broke and unemployed by age
28 - said: "The picture had to be the greatest. It couldn't merely
be very good. I had things to prove." Of that performance, which
showcased the full range of her talents, director George Cukor said:
"I knew that anyone who could sing like Judy had the emotional
ability to become a great dramatic actor. I wanted very much to direct
Although she described herself as "just an entertainer," Garland
was, by all accounts, the definitive entertainer of the 20th century.
In an exclusive - and unprecedented - arrangement, Turner Entertainment
granted AMERICAN MASTERS unlimited access to the archives at MGM, the
mega-studio that used corsets to hide Garland's breasts and provided
uppers and downers that made the 4-foot-11 singing sensation feel like
a "wind-up toy."
"That's the way we got mixed up," Garland says in By Myself.
"And that's the way we lost contact with the world."
Extraordinary entrée to never-before-seen material allows Judy
Garland: By Myself to tell never-before-told stories, including the
heartbreaking account of her CBS television series. The CBS offer was
the biggest the network had ever made: $24 million a year for four
years, with $1 million annually for Garland, who hoped the long-sought
financial security would finally provide a real home for her family.
The film includes extensive clips from the show, including performances
with Barbra Streisand (decked out in a sailor suit), Tony Bennett,
Lena Horne, Mickey Rooney, and Ethel Merman. But the rigors of formula
TV, coupled with constant complaints from the network's president -
who expressed an acute dislike for Garland - killed the critically
acclaimed show, which couldn't win in a time slot dominated by Bonanza.
When film and television failed her, the vaudeville veteran always
returned to the one certainty in her life: her voice. Prominent in
By Myself are extended versions of "Me and My Gal," "The Man That
Got Away," "You Made Me Love You," "Stormy Weather,"
and "Over the Rainbow," which Garland sings with daughter
Liza at her side. The film also includes footage and stills from Garland's
record-breaking appearances at the London Palladium and Carnegie Hall,
where - gripped by self-doubt and terrified of failure - she received
thunderous standing ovations as soon as she stepped on stage. "She
rocked that theater," actress Ann Miller says in By Myself. "She
just ripped that audience to pieces."
Garland's wit and vulnerability are apparent in long-forgotten radio,
press and TV interviews, including a 1962 appearance with Jack Paar.
When asked what she missed most during her teenage years, when she
appeared in back-to-back MGM films, Garland says in a Canadian TV interview:
"Eating." Even after receiving a special juvenile Oscar for
The Wizard of Oz, Garland - nicknamed "the little hunchback"
by studio head Louis B. Mayer - still considered herself an ugly duckling.
Instead of emphasizing her much-publicized struggles with addiction,
which she fought with electric shock therapy and stints in sanitariums,
By Myself celebrates Garland as a consummate entertainer. All told,
Garland worked for 43 of her 47 years, appearing in 32 feature films,
making more than 1,100 theater, nightclub and concert performances,
and recording nearly 100 singles and over a dozen albums. Performing
first as a toddler, she went on to master singing, acting and dancing
- while raising, and largely supporting, three children caught in a
very public spotlight.
The film also explores the star's complex personal life, including
a critical marriage to a much-older Vincente Minnelli, who, like Garland's
beloved father, was rumored to be gay. Genuine insight into Garland
herself - the roots of her storied problems as well as her indomitable
spirit - are provided by intimates such as Minnelli and A Star Is Born
director Cukor, who said of Garland: "She had an innate intelligence
to her...She could have you screaming with laughter...She was the most
Never a quitter, Garland performed until her abrupt end in 1969. Says
director Joe Mankiewicz: "You're not going to close the book on
Judy Garland. Oh no. I don't think anybody's going to close the book
Susan Lacy is the creator and executive producer of AMERICAN MASTERS.
Jac Venza is director of cultural and arts programs at Thirteen/WNET
New York. AMERICAN MASTERS has become a cultural legacy in its own right,
producing an exceptional film library that illustrates the creative
journeys of our most enduring writers, musicians and visual and performing
artists. Now in its 18th year, the series set the standard for documentary
film profiles and has received widespread critical acclaim, winning
12 Emmys, five Peabodys, an Oscar, a Grammy, and 33 Cine Golden Eagles.
With authenticity and integrity, the series enhances an appreciation
of our cultural heritage and maintains the kind of in-depth, thorough
and insightful explorations that viewers have come to expect from public
Corporate sponsorship for AMERICAN MASTERS is provided by American
Century Investments. Funding is also provided by the National Endowment
for the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Rosalind P.
Walter, the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, Jack Rudin, the André
and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, and public television viewers.
New York is one of the key program providers for public television,
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Thirteen reaches millions of viewers each week, airing the best of American
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