Judy Garland as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Judy Garland was one of the greatest icons of the 20th Century. She was a child star who turned into a superstar. She thrilled a generation, and her movies and music continues to thrill millions of fans. Yet her story contains much tragedy, as well as great glory.
Judy Garland died suddenly on a toilet seat in the bathroom, on June 22, 1969, in London, England, from of an accidental overdose of barbiturates mixed with alcohol. Judy Garland had turned 47 just over a week prior to her death. She was residing in a rented flat with her fifth and final husband Mickey Deans, who found her dead.
When someone dies in a tragic way or earlier than expected, there are always a question mark and controversy surrounding the death. Although Pathologist Dr. Pocock found 4.9 mg of Seconal in Judy Garland's blood, and the stated exact cause of death by coroner Gavin Thursdon was accidental overdose of barbiturates, there are mixed public reactions whether it was really accidental or she committed suicide. Many people also shift the blame on Judy Garland's mother and the studio she used to work for (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer), because they got her hooked on pills when she was young, and believe they were the real killers.
We believe the coroner's conclusion is accurate, that it was a purely accidental death. There is no way in the world that Judy Garland deliberately killed herself because she only just got married a few months before her death, and she finally felt happy and loved. Also, it's known that she has been taking prescription drugs for years, so the drugs found in her system is nothing new. It's just unfortunate that on her final night, she had taken some pills and fallen asleep, then woke up feeling sick and she forgot how much she had taken, and she took some more.
Judy Garland wasn't the only famous star affected by drugs. Let's remember that drugs also killed other celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Anna Nicole Smith, Michael Jackson and probably Elvis Presley. Back in the old days, actors and actresses like Judy Garland were given pills to help them stay awake. The studio also gave her diet pills and sleeping pills to help her get some sleep. The studios and their doctors were ignorant at the time, so they didn't realise what they were doing were bad, and many actors and actresses got addicted to them. Some stars struggle with drugs in their entire life, and some go through a modern day rehab to get off them.
Judy Garland once said "MGM had us working days and nights on end. They'd give us pep-up pills to keep us on our feet long after we were exhausted. Then they'd take us to the studio hospital and knock us cold with sleeping pills. Then after four hours they'd wake us up and give us the pep-up pills again so we could work another 72 hours in a row. I started to feel like a wind-up toy from FAO Schwarz."
In June 1950, Judy Garland who was 28 years old at the time, cut her throat with a piece of glass. Although the cut was superficial, the media made their stories seem worse than it is, and Garland was visited by many well-known celebrities who tried to bring up her spirits. Although many people state that it was a suicide attempt, it was more likely a cry for help.
Judy Garland looked older than she really was towards the end on her life. She was 47, but yet she looked like a 60 year old woman. Some people still feel young when they're in their 40s, but Judy Garland must have felt old and worn out. She worked since she was just two years old, and there was hardly any rest during her life. Besides the drugs, she also struggled to overcome various personal problems, including depression, broken hearts, debts, and she was hospitalised on some occasions during her adult life.
She looked noticeably thinner during her final years, in stark contrast to the Judy Garland that we see in The Wizard of Oz and 1940's movies when she was in great shape. Upon Judy Garland's death, The Wizard of Oz co-star, Ray Bolger (Scarecrow) commented that "She just plain wore out."
In conclusion, we feel that nobody killed Judy Garland but caused by an accidental drug overdose. It's just one of those situations that you wish had never happened and that someone could've saved her. Judy Garland is a true superstar, who has class and respect, and if there's one thing that she would want to be remembered for, it would surely be for her love of everyone.