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A conversation with the legendary Judy Garland

The Story

Judy Garland isn't in Kansas any more -- she's in Toronto. The singer, who became famous in the role of Dorothy in the 1939 blockbuster The Wizard of Oz, will be performing in concert for the first time in North America in two years. Before she attends a press conference, she gives a one-on-one interview with This Hour Has Seven Days co-host Laurier LaPierre. She is eager to talk about her new love Mark Herron, cooking as a stress-reliever, and her pride in her daughter Liza Minelli's career. And when a reporter at the press conference asks for the name of her favourite song, her answer is quick and predictable - it's Over the Rainbow.

Medium: Television
Program: This Hour Has Seven Days
Broadcast Date: Feb. 7, 1965
Host: John Drainie
Reporter: Laurier LaPierre
Guest: Judy Garland
Duration: 8:12

Did You know?

• Judy Garland's concerts at the O'Keefe Centre were scheduled for Monday, Feb. 8 through Saturday, Feb. 13, 1965.  She cancelled the Wednesday matinee and evening performances, due to laryngitis and a cold, but managed to return to finish the run.

• Garland was not the sole performer at the O'Keefe Centre performances.  Her opening acts were comedian Nipsey Russell and The Allen Brothers. Peter Allen and Chris Bell were a cabaret act from Australia, and Peter Allen was engaged to Garland's daughter Liza Minnelli at the time.

• Advertised ticket prices in the Feb. 4, 1965 Globe and Mail ranged from $2.25 to $7.50 (roughly $16 to $55 in 2012 dollars). By comparison, a one-night performance by Anna Russell at Massey Hall was advertised at between $1.50 and $3.50 (roughly $11 and $26 in 2012).

• Reviews of Garland's performances were mixed, and according to Toronto Star writer Morris Duff on Feb. 15, the shows opened as failures and closed "in near triumph." She did not sing her signature song Over the Rainbow for the first couple of nights, instead encouraging the audience to sing it, but did reward the audience with it on the final night.

• Garland began her career under the name Frances Gumm as part of a vaudeville act with her two sisters, and when she was signed to work for MGM, changed her name to Judy Garland. Her career there was unremarkable until she starred as Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz in 1939. The following year it won two Oscars, as well as a special award for Garland. She was one of MGM's most successful female stars, and made more than 20 films for them.

• Judy Garland was born June 10, 1922, and died June 22, 1969 from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs.


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