From Frances Ethel Gumm to Judy Garland

The Gumm Sisters

Judy Garland was an American actress that we love and adore for playing in lots of musical films. Her performance in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ is unforgettable. She had a great voice and lot of personality, but her career started when she was really young. And that’s something that affected her, built her personality and took its toll in a tragic way.

She was born as Frances Ethel Gumm in Minnesota in 1922. Her parents used to perform in vaudeville, so they wanted that their daughters perform too. Since she was very young, she was dancing and singing, and that’s what she did during all her life. Her first appearance was when she was only 2 years and a half. She sang with her sisters ‘Jingle Bells’ on a program of their father, with her mother playing the piano for them.

The Gumm sisters learned to dance and sing in a school and used to perform every Christmas. They participated in a few short movies. In ‘The Wedding of Jack and Jill’ was the first time that Frances Ethel was acting on her own, without her sisters. They were performing in some theatres on tour, but the people used to laugh at their name. ‘The Gumm Sisters’ wasn’t very appealing. That’s why they decided to change their name to ‘The Garland Sisters’. There are lots of theories of where is this name coming from.

Maybe the character Lily Garland in the film ‘Twentieth Century’ inspired them. Or they were inspired by the popular drama-critic Robert Garland. Or, who knows, maybe when their mother said that the trio “looked prettier than a garland of flowers”. None of these theories are confirmed. Only it’s true that Judy changed her name inspired by the popular song by Hoagy Carmichael.

In 1935, the American director and choreographer Busby Berkeley saw a performance of ‘The Garland Sisters’ and was delighted. He was there because the producer Louis B. Mayer wanted to see the girls performing too. After that, Judy Garland signed a contract with the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. A few months ago, she had realised a screen test but they weren’t interested on her because she looked older than she was.

Judy Garland became from an artistic family and she was performing since she was 2 years old. After doing lots of performances on the theatre and some short movies, she got a contract for the MGM and her professional career started with only 13 years old. But of course, she wasn’t the only prodigy child. At that time, lots of actors and actresses started their careers really early. But only a few years later she would perform in ‘The Wizard of Oz’.



2 pensamientos en “From Frances Ethel Gumm to Judy Garland

  1. Geni

    It’s a pitty, that almost always she has a lot of pressure about her weight, having to take a lot of pills. What doesn’t help at all to reach an equilibrium in her life, a general problem with the actors who became stars so early. And also it was not easy to deal with the big studios like MGM and his big father Louis B. Mayer, who I think was quite a big tyrant with his actors.
    In my opiniion, I think that she was not really happy in her life. Very sad.

    Me gusta



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