Judy Garland

Who replaced Fred Astaire in Easter Parade?

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.


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  • In September 1935, Louis B. Mayer asked songwriter Burton Lane to go to the Orpheum Theater in downtown Los Angeles to watch the Garland Sisters' vaudeville act and to report to him. A few days later, Judy and her father were brought for an impromptu audition at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios in Culver City. Garland performed "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart" and "Eli, Eli", a Yiddish song written in 1896 and regularly performed in vaudeville. The studio immediately signed Garland to a contract with MGM, presumably without a screen test, though she had made a test for the studio several months earlier. The studio did not know what to do with her; aged thirteen, she was older than the traditional child star, but too young for adult roles.

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  • In September 1935, Louis B. Mayer asked songwriter Burton Lane to go to the Orpheum Theater in downtown Los Angeles to watch the Garland Sisters' vaudeville act and to report to him. A few days later, Judy and her father were brought for an impromptu audition at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios in Culver City. Garland performed "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart" and "Eli, Eli", a Yiddish song written in 1896 and regularly performed in vaudeville. The studio immediately signed Garland to a contract with MGM, presumably without a screen test, though she had made a test for the studio several months earlier. The studio did not know what to do with her; aged thirteen, she was older than the traditional child star, but too young for adult roles.

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  • In 1928, the Gumm Sisters enrolled in a dance school run by Ethel Meglin, proprietress of the Meglin Kiddies dance troupe. They appeared with the troupe at its annual Christmas show. Through the Meglin Kiddies, they made their film debut in a short subject called The Big Revue (1929), where they performed a song-and-dance number called "That's the Good Old Sunny South". This was followed by appearances in two Vitaphone shorts the following year: A Holiday in Storyland (featuring Garland's first on-screen solo) and The Wedding of Jack and Jill. They next appeared together in Bubbles. Their final on-screen appearance was in an MGM Technicolor short entitled La Fiesta de Santa Barbara (1935).

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  • The Wizard of Oz was a tremendous critical success, though its high budget and promotions costs of an estimated $4¬†million (equivalent to $73.5 million in 2020), coupled with the lower revenue that was generated by discounted children's tickets, meant that the film did not return a profit until it was rereleased in the 1940s and on subsequent occasions. At the 1939 Academy Awards ceremony, Garland received her only Academy Award, an Academy Juvenile Award for her performances in 1939, including The Wizard of Oz and Babes in Arms. She was the fourth person to receive the award as well as only one of twelve in history to ever be presented with one.

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  • In her next film, For Me and My Gal (1942), Garland performed with Gene Kelly in his first screen appearance. She was given the "glamor treatment" in Presenting Lily Mars (1943), in which she was dressed in "grown-up" gowns. Her lightened hair was also pulled up in a stylish fashion. However, no matter how glamorous or beautiful she appeared on screen or in photographs, she was never confident in her appearance and never escaped the "girl-next-door" image that the studio had created for her.

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