In recognition of her Carnegie Hall Concert 50 years ago tonight, there’s a lot of new interest in Judy Garland.
Here is a great article from this month’s Vanity Fair:
In December 1959, Judy Garland, only 37 but with a quarter-century of hard living behind her, lay near death in New York’s Doctors Hospital. Alcohol and pills were the culprits. When in reasonably good health, Garland, who stood an inch under five feet, weighed 100 pounds. Now she weighed 180. Her tiny frame was grotesquely swollen with fluid and her liver severely compromised. Her eyes were glazed; her memory was failing; her body was shutting down. Walking by Garland’s hospital room, a close friend overheard a clutch of doctors discussing her condition. One of them turned to the friend. “I have to tell you the truth,” the doctor said. “I don’t think she’s going to make it.”
She made it. “She had the constitution of an army,” Garland’s daughter Lorna Luft says. “She just knew she had to keep going.” But three weeks later, after 20 quarts of fluid had been drained from her body, her lead physician told Garland, “For the rest of your life, all your physical activity must be curtailed. You are a permanent semi-invalid.… It goes without saying that under no circumstances can you ever work again.”
Garland fell back onto her pillows. “Whoopee!” she cried, weakly.