Judy Garland (born June 10, 1922, in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, United States—died June 22, 1969, in London, England) was an American singer and actress whose outstanding talents and vulnerabilities combined to create her one of the most enduringly beloved Hollywood icons of the twentieth century.
Frances Gumm was the daughter of former vaudevillians Frank and Ethel Gumm, who ran the New Grand Theatre in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, where Frances made her debut on December 26, 1924, at the age of 2 1/2. She received her first great review from the entertainment news magazine Variety in 1932, when she was a 10-year-old singing sensation, and two years later, she took the surname Garland at the suggestion of comedian George Jessel. (She picked Judy as her first name after hearing the popular 1934 Hoagy Carmichael song of the same name.) Judy Garland was signed without a screen test by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) in September 1935, the world’s largest motion film studio. A Star is Created (1954) Judy Garland and Vicki Lester in a scene from George Cukor’s film Esther Blodgett and Vicki Lester. a musical film
In Grand Rapids, Minnesota, Garland’s birthplace is now a museum dedicated to her life and achievements.
Garland was born Frances Ethel Gumm in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, on June 10, 1922. She was the youngest child of Francis Avent “Frank” Gumm (1886–1935) and Ethel Marion (née Milne; 1893–1953). Her parents were vaudevillians who moved to Grand Rapids to manage a vaudeville-themed movie theatre. She was named after both of her parents and baptized at a local Episcopal church. She was of Irish, English, Scottish, and French Huguenot descent.
The Sisters Gumm/Garland
The Garland Sisters, sometimes known as the Gumm Sisters, were a group of sisters that formed in 1935. Mary Jane and Dorothy Virginia Gumm are on the top row, while Frances Ethel Gumm is on the bottom row (Judy Garland) Gumm
The Gumm Sisters enrolled in Ethel Meglin’s dancing school in 1928, the proprietress of the Meglin Kiddies dance ensemble. They took part in the troupe’s annual Christmas performance. They made their cinematic debut as the Meglin Kiddies in the short film The Big Revue (1929), in which they performed a song-and-dance routine called “That’s the Good Old Sunny South.” The following year, Garland appeared in two Vitaphone shorts: A Holiday in Storyland (which featured Garland’s debut on-screen solo) and The Wedding of Jack and Jill. The next is featured in Bubbles together. Their final appearance on screen was in the MGM Technicolor short La Fiesta de Santa Barbara (1935).
By the time they played with George Jessel at the Oriental Theater in Chicago in 1934, the trio had been touring the vaudeville circuit as “The Gumm Sisters” for several years. After the crowd laughed at “Gumm,” he encouraged the group to come up with a more appealing name. Their act was reportedly mistakenly billed as “The Glum Sisters” at a Chicago theatre, according to theatre folklore.
Several stories abound about how they came up with the name Garland. One theory is that Jessel named it after Carole Lombard’s character Lily Garland in the 1934 picture Twentieth Century, which was showing at the Oriental in Chicago at the time; another is that the girls named it after theatrical critic Robert Garland. Lorna Luft, Garland’s daughter, said her mother chose the name after Jessel said the trio “looked more beautiful than a garland of flowers.” On September 29, 1954, a TV special was shot in Hollywood during the Pantages Theatre premiere of A Star Is Born, in which Jessel remarked
“Baby” (as her parents and sisters called her)had inherited her family’s talent for music and dancing. Her first public performance was at the age of two, when she performed a chorus of “Jingle Bells” with her older sisters Mary Jane “Suzy/Suzanne” Gumm and Dorothy Virginia “Jimmie” Gumm on the stage of her father’s movie theatre during a Christmas presentation. For the next few years, the Gumm Sisters performed there, joined by their mother on piano., and Ethel began managing her daughters and attempting to get them into movies.
Judy Garland’s Net Worth
Garland’s net worth was estimated to be around $40,000 at the time of her death. While this may not appear to be a large sum, it is almost $300,000 in today’s dollars. Garland’s net worth may not be as large as one might assume, yet her earnings as an actor and entertainer were enormous. The actress earned $400,000 before she reached 18 years old, which is nearly $7.5 million now.
Garland amassed a net worth of $100 million throughout the course of her career. Garland’s estate was valued at $4 million at the time of her death, and she was earning $50-80,000 per year from music royalties in the 1960s.