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When Did Judy Garland Die? The Iconic Actress Struggled Towards the End

Edduin Carvajal
May 26, 2022
06:50 P.M.

Legendary actress Judy Garland wowed an entire generation with her portrayal of Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz." But she died too soon, and her final years were challenging.


Even though Judy Garland passed away over five decades ago, she made headlines again in May 2022 after one of the dresses she wore in "The Wizard of Oz" – worth between $800,000 and $1.2 million – was almost sold in an auction.

However, Barbara Kartke and the Catholic University of America got into a legal battle over its ownership, meaning that nobody could sell the dress until the lawsuit was settled. Part of the reason the piece of clothing is so expensive is Judy Garland's outstanding but short career.

Judy Garland circa 1950s | Source: Getty Images

Judy Garland circa 1950s | Source: Getty Images


On June 22, 1969, Garland's fifth husband, Mickey Deans, found her dead in their London home. She was just 47 years old. Deans was 35 at the time, and he had to break down their bathroom door to get to her.


Authorities later revealed that Garland passed away due to an accidental self-administered overdose of barbiturates. They pointed out that Garland did not die by suicide.

It is essential to point out that Garland always struggled with mental health problems. By the time she was 23, she had already gone through psychiatric treatments and experienced three nervous breakdowns.

Judy Garland on July 31, 1967 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

Judy Garland on July 31, 1967 in New York City | Source: Getty Images


Judy Garland debuted as an actress aged two, and she hit so many highs and lows throughout her career that she was described as Hollywood's queen of comebacks. She also struggled with addiction and depression for most of her life.


Garland revealed her mother started giving her pills to either keep her energy up or help her sleep when she was ten. MGM supposedly did the same with her and other actors to keep up with their grueling schedules.


In 1954, Garland appeared in her last iconic film, "A Star is Born." Things slowly spiraled out of control after that. She played solo concerts to pay off thousands of dollars she owed to the IRS in back taxes, but the shows lacked quality.

She frequently showed up late, and her performances were erratic. Garland's manager, Stevie Phillips, revealed that she needed drugs to do things as simple as talk and sign contracts by the end of her life.

Judy Garland's final performance was in Copenhagen, Denmark, in late March 1969. Her addiction problems were so severe that she met her fifth husband, Mickey Deans, when he delivered stimulants to her hotel room a few months before dying.



Garland's love life was far from perfect. Before Deans, she was married to musician David Rose, stage and film director Vincente Minnelli, businessman Sidney Luft, and actor Mark Herron.

Minnelli and Garland welcomed one child together, Liza, in 1946. In 1952 and 1955, Garland gave birth to her and Luft's children, Lorna and Joey.


Out of Judy Garland's three kids, Liza is the most famous. She became a singer and actress and even took home an Academy Award for playing Sally Bowles in "Cabaret."

Lorna is also involved in the entertainment industry. She made her Broadway debut in the early 1970s but mainly focused on her music career. Joey is "camera shy," according to his sisters, so information about him is scarce. Rest in peace, legend.

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