Judy Garland (Who’s Who at MGM, 1937) 🇺🇸

January 08, 2022

Judy Garland was born with the theatre in her veins. Her father and mother, Frank A. and Ethel Gumm, were both professionals — vaudeville folk, “legit” actors, singers.

Judy was born in Grand Rapids, Minn., June 10. Most of her education was acquired in Los Angeles, but she has been in nearly every large city in the United States with her parents “on the road.”

When she was three she started singing professionally with her elder sister, Virginia and Suzanne. Within a year the “Garland Sisters Trio” won recognition. Before she was five she was singing in vaudeville, the act soon became a headliner.

In her 14 years, Judy has been in every state in the Union. The sisters appeared at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1933, then started a tour of big theatres of the midwest. In August, 1935, Suzanne married and broke up the act.

Got Her Own Chance

One day Judy walked on the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lot and told officials that she had eight years of stage experience.

She made her screen debut in the short, “Every Sunday,” with Deanna Durbin, was loaned out to make “Pigskin Parade” and later was in Broadway Melody of 1938.

Judy received the greatest honor of her career from Sophie Tucker, known as the last of the “Red Hot Mamas.” It seems that Miss Tucker, who portrayed Judy’s mother in Broadway Melody of 1938, planned to give up hot singing and play “straight” roles after she completed the musical. When asked who would become the next “Red Hot Mama,” Miss Tucker named Judy as her first choice. “She has a greater understanding of lyrics than any child I have ever met during my many years in the theatre and on the air,” says Miss Tucker. Judy and Miss Tucker also appeared together in “Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry.”

The young singer was graduated from Junior High School with high honors and entered high school. Working in pictures didn’t keep her behind in her school work for she did her lessons with a private tutor between scenes.

Tap Dancer of Note

Judy is a tap dancer of note and for good reason too. She made such a hit with Eleanor Powell, George Murphy and Buddy Ebsen in “Melody” that they all gave her private lessons.

Judy plays the piano and likes to draw and imitate models in department store windows. She likes to ride and swim, especially in the mountains. She is always frightened by earthquakes and thunderstorms. She is four feet eleven inches tall, and weighs 95 pounds. Her hair and eyes are brown.

Jessel Named Her

She received the name of Garland from George Jessel when she and her sisters appeared with him at the Oriental Theatre in Chicago. She attends moving pictures nearly every day, because she believes that it helps her learn to act. Her favorite form of relaxation is to read the funny paper or to romp with her Pekingese, named “Phooey.”

In addition to her picture work she appears weekly on a national radio program with Jack Oakie. She sleeps nine or ten hours every night and her favorite food is chocolate cake and ice cream.

The starlet is a keen student and omnivorous reader. She prefers history among her textbooks, but says she likes her language studies almost as well. She is rated excellent in grammar and English literature. Among books read for offstage relaxation, she declares mystery is “tops” with her. Biography and historic volumes generally also absorb much of her spare time.

Source: Who’s Who at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1937