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Judy Garland, original name Frances Ethel Gumm, (born June 10, 1922, Grand Rapids, Minnesota, U.S.—died June 22, 1969, London, England), American singer and actress whose exceptional talents and vulnerabilities combined to make her one of the most enduringly popular Hollywood icons of the 20th century. Frances Gumm was the daughter of former vaudevillians Frank Gumm and Ethel Gumm, who operated the New Grand Theatre in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, where on December 26, 1924, at age 2 1/2, Frances made her debut. In 1932—by that time a 10-year-old singing sensation—she received her first rave review from the entertainment news magazine Variety, and two years later, at the suggestion of the comedian George Jessel, she adopted the surname Garland. (She chose the first name Judy shortly thereafter, from the popular 1934 Hoagy Carmichael song of that name.) In September 1935, Judy Garland was signed by the world’s largest motion-picture studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), without a screen test. Her first film appearance as a contract player for MGM was in the short Every Sunday (1936). Her other early films included Pigskin Parade (which she made while on loan to Twentieth Century-Fox in 1936) and Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937), in which she sang “You Made Me Love You.” That was the first of many trademark songs. She began her popular screen partnership with Mickey Rooney in Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry (1937); the pairing continued through Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938), Babes in Arms (1939), Strike Up the Band (1940), Babes on Broadway (1941), and Girl Crazy (1943). Garland’s winning combination of youth, innocence, pluck, and emotional openness is seen to good advantage in two of her best-known films: The Wizard of Oz (1939) and Meet Me in St. Louis (1944). In the former, her heartfelt expression of vulnerability and youthful longing in what would become another signature song, “Over the Rainbow,” helped make the film one of the most beloved movie classics. It also brought Garland her first and only Academy Award, a special award with a miniature statuette for “outstanding performance by a screen juvenile.” She played her last juvenile role in Meet Me in St. Louis, directed by her future husband Vincente Minnelli (with whom she had a daughter, Liza). In it she sang such hits as “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “The Boy Next Door.”

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