Judy: Renée Zellweger stars as icon Judy Garland in trailer
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Judy is often regarded as the one of finest actresses the world has ever seen, with a career spanning some 45 years. Known for her incredible versatility, Judy amassed a brilliant back catalogue of films, as well as claiming a host of awards including an Academy Juvenile Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Special Tony Award. While she is often remembered fondly for her role as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, she also won praise for other portrayals such as in Easter Parade, which airs today at 12.20pm on BBC Two.
Judy plays the hapless Hannah, who is taken under the wing of Broadway star Don Hewes, played by Fred Astaire.
And while Judy is known as a former child star, she ensured that when it came to her own parenting style her children would only be treated as if they were adults.
She had three children, among them Liza Minnelli, who surpassed her mother’s achievements by winning an Emmy, Grammy (Grammy Legend Award), Oscar, and Tony as well as being made a Knight of the French Legion of Honour.
In a New York Times report from 1984, Liza fondly remembered how she was treated by her mother and noted how it instilled a steeliness in her.
She said: “I was always treated like a grown- up,” she recalls.
“There was no baby talk – ever. My mother said, ‘Why start out on the wrong foot? Enough people are going to say goo-goo, ga- ga, when you’re older.
“‘In other words, they’ll double-talk you when you’re older. So, I’ll talk to you straight when you’re young.'”
Among her recollections of her mother, Liza discussed the moment when Judy realised how “good” her daughter was at acting.
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She described it as the “strangest feeling” because “one minute I was on stage with my mother, the next moment I was on stage with Judy Garland”.
Liza said: “One minute she smiled at me, and the next minute she was like the lioness that owned the stage and suddenly found somebody invading her territory.
”We were singing, and I looked at her and the killer instinct of a performer had come out in her.
“For some reason, it made me laugh because I knew the imitation of her I was going to do for her afterward, and we both howled.”
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She added: “[Judy] said, ‘Liza, I thought you’d be so cute out there and so darling – my little baby girl.
“And then you put one foot forward and one hip went back just on the right beat, and the hand went out, and I thought, Oh my God, I’ve got to be good now – this kid ain’t fooling around.’ I think that what Mama was saying was, ‘You’re everything I wanted you to be. You’re a force to be dealt with and I created it, and now I’ve come up against it.'”
Judy likely wanted a more stable upbringing for her talented daughter than the one she was afforded while growing up under the gaze of the public eye.
She was barely 16 when filming for the now iconic Wizard of Oz began, and by 1939 she had collected an Academy Award for her portrayal of the film’s protagonist.
But while on set, she became embroiled with a bitter addiction.
Journalist Claire Beghin explored Garland’s time on set for Vogue last year, noting: “The so-called ‘Golden Age’ of Hollywood had its share of scandals, including drug addictions, and the mistreatment of artists by the major production studios, and unfortunately Judy Garland was not spared.
“While filming ‘The Wizard of Oz’, Garland was receiving criticism about her weight and had her food rationed by the studio.
“She soon began taking amphetamines, which the MGM studio willingly gave to young actors and actresses in order to give them the energy to continue filming for hours at a time.
“She soon developed insomnia due to the drugs she was taking, which was treated with sleeping pills on top of the medication she was already taking.”
By the time the acclaim had been lauded on the young Judy, she was in the throes of addiction, experiencing severe mood swings, dependency on alcohol and bouts of depression.
She would go on to enjoy an illustrious career and was nominated for a host of awards, including for her turn in the 1954 classic A Star Is Born.
Easter Parade airs today on BBC Two from 12.20pm.
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