On September 16, 1963, Garland—along with daughter Liza, Carolyn Jones, June Allyson, and Allyson's daughter Pam Powell—held a press conference to highlight and protest the recent bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama that resulted in the death of four young African American girls. They expressed their shock at the events and requested funds for the families of the victims. Pam Powell and Liza Minnelli both announced their intention to attend the funeral of the victims during the press conference.
Upon its world premiere on September 29, 1954, the film was met with critical and popular acclaim. Before its release, it was edited at the instruction of Jack Warner; theater operators, concerned that they were losing money because they were only able to run the film for three or four shows per day instead of five or six, pressured the studio to make additional reductions. After its first-run engagements, about 30 minutes of footage were cut, sparking outrage among critics and filmgoers. Although it was still popular, drawing huge crowds and grossing over $6,000,000 in its first release, A Star is Born did not make back its cost and ended up losing money. As a result, the secure financial position Garland had expected from the profits did not materialize. Transcona made no more films with Warner.More Info
During filming for The Pirate in April 1947, Garland suffered a nervous breakdown and was placed in a private sanatorium. She was able to complete filming, but in July she made her first suicide attempt, making minor cuts to her wrist with a broken glass. During this period, she spent two weeks in treatment at the Austen Riggs Center, a psychiatric hospital in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The Pirate was released in May 1948 and was the first film in which Garland had starred since The Wizard of Oz not to make a profit. The main reasons for its failure were not only its cost, but also the increasing expense of the shooting delays while Garland was ill, as well as because the general public was not yet willing to accept her in a sophisticated film. Following her work on The Pirate, she co-starred for the first and only time with Fred Astaire (who replaced Gene Kelly after Kelly had broken his ankle) in Easter Parade (1948), which became her top-grossing film at MGM.More Info
During this time, Garland was still in her teens when she experienced her first serious adult romance with bandleader Artie Shaw. She was deeply devoted to him and was devastated in early 1940 when he eloped with Lana Turner. Garland began a relationship with musician David Rose, and on her 18th birthday, he gave her an engagement ring. The studio intervened because, at the time, he was still married to actress and singer Martha Raye. They agreed to wait a year to allow for his divorce to become final. During that time, Garland had a brief affair with songwriter Johnny Mercer. After her break-up with Mercer, Garland and Rose were wed on July 27, 1941. "A true rarity" is what media called it. The couple agreed to a trial separation in January 1943, and divorced in 1944.More Info
In 1951, Garland began a four-month concert tour of Britain and Ireland, where she played to sold-out audiences throughout England, Scotland, and Ireland. The successful concert tour was the first of her many comebacks, with performances centered on songs by Al Jolson and revival of vaudevillian "tradition". Garland performed complete shows as tributes to Jolson in her concerts at the London Palladium in April and at New York's Palace Theater later that year. Garland said after the Palladium show: "I suddenly knew that this was the beginning of a new life ... Hollywood thought I was through; then came the wonderful opportunity to appear at the London Palladium, where I can truthfully say Judy Garland was reborn." Her appearances at the Palladium lasted for four weeks, where she received rave reviews and an ovation described by the Palladium manager as the loudest he had ever heard.More Info
During this time Garland had a 6-month affair with actor Glenn Ford. Garland's biographer Gerald Clarke, Ford's son Peter, singer Mel Torme and her husband Sid Luft wrote about the affair in their respective biographies. The relationship began in 1963 while Garland was doing her television show. Ford would attend tapings of the show sitting in the front row while Garland sang. Ford is credited with giving Garland one of the more stable relationships of her later life. The affair was ended by Ford (a notorious womanizer according to his son Peter) when he realized Garland wanted to marry him.More Info
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