Judy Talks Judy

8.27.2014

By Alex Panisch

Choice musings—on anxieties to birthdays—from the legendary performer

From her classic roles on the silver screen to her tragic passing (which, if you buy the myth, may have helped fuel the Stonewall riots), much ink has been spilled on Judy Garland. Now you can read about her in her own words in Judy Garland on Judy Garland: Interviews and Encounters (Chicago Review Press, September 1). Here, snippets from a few of her choice musings.

On looks: “I take awfully good care of myself. I don’t ever smoke or drink — I hate anything that has even the littlest fizz to it, even Coca-Cola.” — Hollywood, October 1938

On crying: “I’d like to set something straight. I do not cry. People are always writing that I’m bursting into tears. The only thing I ever burst into is a good song.” — Good Housekeeping, January 1962

On tragedy: "People think of me as a neurotic kid, full of fits and depressions, biting my fingernails to the bone, living under an eternal shadow of illness and collapse.Why do people insist on seeing an aura of tragedy around me always? My life isn't tragic at all. I laugh a lot these days. At myself, too. Lord, if I couldn't laugh at myself I don't think I'd be alive." —To journalist Herbert Kretzmer, 1960

On seeing Liza perform: "I'm an absolute imbecile when I see her perform. I cry. My little girl!" —To Sheilah Graham, March 4, 1962.

On being a legend: “I’ve heard how ‘difficult’ it is to be with Judy Garland. Do you know how difficult it is to be Judy Garland? I’ve had to do it — and what more unkind life can you think of than the one I’ve lived? I’m told I’m a legend. Fine. But I didn’t ask to be a legend. I was totally unprepared for it.” — McCall’s, August 1967

On getting older: "I wanted to stay like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Life wasn't as complicated then. But I can't help growing up. No one can. Time won't stop and life won't stand still. But I have a feeling that if I just look backward once in a while at Dorothy, if I am off beat in any way, I'll get back on the soundtrack again....Dorothy and I thought a lot alike when I made The Wizard of Oz. I like to think we still do." —Unknown publication, April 1944

On her gay fans: “I’ve been treated brutally by the press, but I’ll be damned if I’ll have my audience mistreated.” — Kup’s Show (Chicago), September 1967

Photo: Courtesy of personal collection of Randy Schmidt

Tags: Art & Books
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