Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.

Judy Garland

Judy Garland (June 10, 1922 – June 22, 1969) was an American actress and singer. Through a career that spanned 45 of her 47 years, Garland attained international stardom as an actress in musical and dramatic roles, as a recording artist, and on the concert stage. Respected for her versatility, she received a Juvenile Academy Award, won a Golden Globe Award, received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for her work in films, as well as Grammy Awards and a Special Tony Award. She had a contralto singing range.

After appearing in vaudeville with her sisters, Garland was signed to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as a teenager. There she made more than two dozen films, including nine with Mickey Rooney, and the film with which she would be most identified, The Wizard of Oz (1939). After 15 years, Garland was released from the studio but gained renewed success through record-breaking concert appearances, including a critically acclaimed Carnegie Hall concert, a well-regarded but short-lived television series, and a return to film acting beginning with A Star Is Born (1954).

Despite her professional triumphs, Garland battled personal problems throughout her life. Insecure about her appearance, her feelings were compounded by film executives who told her she was unattractive and overweight. Plied with drugs to control her weight and increase her productivity, Garland endured a decades-long struggle with addiction. Garland was plagued by financial instability, often owing hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes, and her first four of five marriages ended in divorce. She attempted suicide on a number of occasions. Garland died of an accidental drug overdose at the age of 47, leaving children Liza Minnelli, Lorna Luft, and Joey Luft.

In 1997 Garland was posthumously awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and several of her recordings have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In 1999, the American Film Institute placed her among the ten greatest female stars in the history of American cinema (at number eight).

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