Podtalk: Judy Garland’s Daughter Lorna Luft, On the 100th Anniversary of Her Mother’s Birth

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CHICAGO – It was 100 years ago today – June 10th, 1922 – that Frances Gumm was born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, but the world would soon know her as Judy Garland. The entertainer, who went from child star to adult fame, is honored by her daughter Lorna Luft.

Arguably, Judy Garland is one of the greatest movie stars and entertainers of her era. She was signed to a film contract by Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) in 1935 at the tender age of 13, after a career in vaudeville with her act known a the Gumm (later Garland) Sisters. Her singing talent was dubbed “The Little Girl with the Big Voice,” and she broke out with MGM in a big way, most notably in the Andy Hardy film series and “The Wizard of Oz” in 1939.

Judy Garland and Lorna Luft
Photo credit: CBS-TV/Facebook@LornaLuftOfficial

In the transition from child star to adult, Garland starred in a series of iconic musical and dramatic films during her time at MGM, and established herself as one of the greatest talents to ever come out of Hollywood. After leaving the studio in 1950, she embarked on a legendary series of concerts, independently contracted films and TV. Her film career was waning by the early 1960s, and she passed away at age 47 in 1969, after leaving a legacy of cinematic and technicolor dreams.

Lorna Luft was born to Sid Luft and Judy Garland shortly after her mother left MGM, and has created her own legacy with an expansive singing and acting career. She made her debut as a singer at age 11 on Judy Garland’s CBS-TV variety show in 1963, and toured with her mother during the rest of the decade. She made her Broadway debut in 1971 in “Promises, Promises,” played Carnegie Hall in 1981 and toured with the hit show “They’re Playing Our Song” in the early 1980s. Also around that time she became a Pink Lady in the now beloved “Grease 2” (1982).

In the 1990s, she did a virtual duet video with her mother, intercutting the original TV debut on “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and released an album tribute to the Judy Garland iconography in 2007 with “Songs My Mother Taught Me.” She also performed in the British stage version debut of “White Christmas” in 2006-07, and has since toured with the show, including a stop in Chicago. And she continues to tour, with an upcoming Christmas craft travel opportunity.

Lorna Luft (right) Makes Her 1963 Debut (with Brother Joey) on ‘The Judy Garland Show’
Photo credit: CBS-TV

In Part One of a Podtalk with Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com, Lorna Luft talks about her mother’s legacy through her national TV singing debut on the 1963 “The Judy Garland Show,” her father Sid Luft, and growing up in show business …

In Part Two, Lorna speaks of her own career, Frank Sinatra and yes, her role as a Pink Lady in “Grease 2” …

SATURDAY, JUNE 11th, 2022, (2pm) come celebrate JUDY 100 at the film series Judy Garland Centennial at the Gene Siskel Film Center, when HollywoodChicago.com’s Patrick McDonald will discuss Garland’s film “The Clock” (1945). Click THE CLOCK for details.

Happy 100th Birthday to Judy Garland! The Gene Siskel Film Center (164 North State Street, Chicago) presents the nine-film “Judy Garland Summer Centennial,” from June 1st through July 31st, 2022. Click GENE SISKEL CENTER for general information.

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2022 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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