Judy Garland was an American actress, singer and vaudevillian, whose career spanned over 45 years and is probably best known in the industry for being the youngest recipient ever to have won the coveted Cecile B. DeMille award for lifetime achievement in the motion picture industry, she was only 39 at the time. Her life, like that of so many other talented yet tortured individuals, would be filled with ups and downs, all of which led up to her untimely demise at just 47 years of age from an accidental drug overdose.
Among her crowning achievements, of which there were many, she won a Juvenile Academy Award, a Special Tony Award, a Golden Globe Award and a few Grammy Awards. She was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in "A Star is Born" and for Best Supporting Role for her acting in "Judgement at Nuremberg." While working under contract for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, where she was signed as a teenager, she made over two dozen films, including nine with Mickey Rooney. But perhaps the role for which she will always be remembered and identified is as Dorothy in the timeless "The Wizard of Oz." After she was released from her contract at MGM, she reignited her popularity by way of record-breaking concert appearances, soon to be followed by a triumphant return to the silver screen in a series of critically-acclaimed performances.
Her long list of achievements were no deterrent to the personal issues and demons she was constantly battling in her private life. Despite being considered on of the top leading ladies of the times, she struggled with intense feelings of insecurity about her appearance. Her track record for marriage included four failed marriages, of which the high points were the birth of her three children, Liza Minnelli, Lorna Luft and Joey Luft. It was these trappings that plague so many celebrities that led her into a world of drugs and alcohol, culminating in her death at such a young age.