Now, I just want you to see something else. Back in the 1990s, I interviewed Judy Garland's daughter, Lorna Luft, on live TV. Lorna had written a good biography about her youth with her famous mother and famous father, Sid Luft. Luft was the executive producer of Garland's sensational Hollywood comeback film, the 1954 musical remake of A STAR IS BORN. She was the favorite to win the Best Actress Oscar for it. She lost to Grace Kelly for THE COUNTRY GIRL, a now legendary Oscar upset. Sid Luft managed her through some of her best major concert dates here and abroad. He was the third of her five husbands. At the time I interviewed Lorna, it was announced that she'd produce a miniseries biopic based on her book for ABC TV.
After a now-historic concert success at Carnegie Hall and an Oscar nomination for her dramatic role in JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG, Garland signed a big money contract with CBS in Hollywood for her own Sunday night weekly variety show. Among her many fans was President John F. "Jack" Kennedy. She'd visited him at the White House. Norman Jewison was on the production team. Years later, the director highly praised her talent, saying that she was whip-smart and took a keen interest in every aspect of the production. However, the network guys never treated her with the respect she deserved. Plus, the two men who were her managers embezzled millions from her contract and paid her what should have been their commission. One of them, David Begelman, would go on to make entertainment news headlines with an embezzlement and check forging scandal in the 1970s. Judy Garland was an international show biz legend dealing with the male executive branch at CBS. Here's an example of why I feel that Judy Davis' Emmy-winning 2001 performance is still the topper:
That's from one of the best TV biopics I've ever seen. Garland was played by two actresses. Tammy Blanchard played teen Judy, a new contract player at MGM. (Blanchard's resemblance was uncanny). Then Davis entered as young adult Judy, now a top star on the MGM lot. If you've never seen LIFE WITH JUDY GARLAND: ME AND MY SHADOWS, find it and give it a look. Here's a color photo of Garland at a gala event with President Kennedy and a black and white photo of her next to President Kennedy at the White House with Carol Burnett and Danny Kaye.