Weird History

The True Story Behind 'Judy' And Judy Garland's Final Years  

Patrick Thornton
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Starring in films like The Wizard of Oz, Meet Me In St. Louis, and A Star Is Born, Judy Garland is remembered as a legend of stage and screen. However, behind all the greasepaint and glitter was a woman who struggled with addiction, depression, and the fickle nature of fame.

Judy Garland's life was as tragic as it was glamorous. With Renée Zellweger set to star in Judy, a biographical drama focused on the end of the acclaimed entertainer's life, those final, troubled years are once again in the spotlight. The period between 1967 and 1969 shows that, no matter how much the odds were stacked against her, Judy Garland never stopped fighting.

She Was Fired From 'Valley of ... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The True Story Behind 'Judy' And Judy Garland's Final Years
Photo:  Richard Avedon/Wikimedia Commons/CCO 1.0
She Was Fired From 'Valley of the Dolls'

On March 2, 1967, a press conference was held to announce Garland's starring role in the film adaptation of Valley of the Dolls. The actress had misgivings about the film, including song selections, and filming got off to a bad start. Garland refused to come out of her dressing room for two days, then lost the caps to her front teeth on the third day. By the end of the week, no usable footage for the film had been shot. She was fired on April 27, 1967, less than two months after announcing she would star in the film.

The studio claimed Garland resigned, which she vehemently denied.

She Was Deeply In Debt is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The True Story Behind 'Judy' And Judy Garland's Final Years
Photo:  Henk Lindeboom (Anefo)/Wikimedia Commons/CC0 1.0
She Was Deeply In Debt

Garland performed a successful run of concerts in 1967 that were tarnished by her significant financial woes. After netting $227,602 for 27 performances, the money was immediately taken by the IRS as payment for back taxes. 

In 1967, the star would eventually have to sell her beloved Brentwood mansion to help pay off her debts. She would never own another home after that.

She Canceled Concerts At The L... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The True Story Behind 'Judy' And Judy Garland's Final Years
Photo:  Sarah W./Flickr/CC BY 2.0
She Canceled Concerts At The Last Minute

In the final of years of her life, Garland began showing up late to concerts, canceling them at the last minute or appearing inebriated on stage. On May 25, 1968, Garland abruptly canceled the second night of her run at The Back Bay Theater in Boston, saying she was too tired from her previous performances. A few weeks later, Garland was 35 minutes late for a concert, then fell asleep on stage after performing only three songs. She was immediately hospitalized, and soon entered a drug rehab program.

She Married A Much Younger Man is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The True Story Behind 'Judy' And Judy Garland's Final Years
Photo: Allan Warren/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0
She Married A Much Younger Man

Garland met her fifth and final husband, Mickey Deans, when he delivered some pills to her hotel room in 1967. Deans was 12 years younger than Garland. The two dated for a couple of years before marrying in March of 1969, just three months before her passing.

After Garland's passed away, Deans wrote a biography about his late wife titled, Weep No More, My Lady. There is also a conspiracy theory that Deans was responsible for Garland's passing and made it look like an accident, but this claim has never been proven.