Judy Garland is beloved to this day thanks to her iconic roles in movies such as Meet Me in St. Louis and A Star Is Born. But it was of course the actress’ performance as Dorothy Gale in the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz that truly launched her to worldwide fame. Apparently, though, Garland’s journey down the yellow brick road came at a tragic and disturbing cost.
Reportedly, Garland was pressured by unscrupulous studio executives about her appearance in her teens and beyond. But it’s said that on the set of The Wizard of Oz – when the star was 16 years old – the meddling reached a shocking new level. In fact, the actress’ experience shooting the wholesome fantasy may have damaged both her physical and mental health forever.
Having entered the world as Frances Gumm in 1922, Garland was railroaded into a showbiz career early on by her stage mom. First, she performed alongside siblings Mary Jane and Dorothy Virginia in a vaudeville trio before landing a deal with MGM Studios aged just 13. Garland made her screen debut in 1936 musical short Every Sunday and shortly after impressed in Pigskin Parade.