(Found on James Lilek's blog in response to his post on Judy Garland Days in Grand Rapids)
The Case of Frances Gumm vs. Judy Garland
Submitted by CivilDefense on Sun, 06/10/2007 - 7:39am.
Do you really "...have to wonder how her life would have unfolded if she’d stayed" home in small-town middle America"?
With respect, I don't think so. Her life would have been better, far happier, and almost certainly much longer. (Her daughter, too, wouldn't have been a bundle of second-generation neuroses and inherited pathologies.)
Google the sad end in summary of Garland's story and you learn that she was just 47, full of sleeping pills, and that "everybody loved her" ... everybody but Frances Gumm, apparently. (As I recall, "everyone loved" Marilyn Monroe, too --- not to mention Elvis, Jim Morrison, etc. ad nauseum)
When you're very, very young, deeply impressed by what you see and unaware of what you don't yet know, Garland's meteoric life story has great appeal. Young people don't see those brassy, rouged twin whores, Glamour and Fame, as the flattering, life-sapping, withering harpies they truly are.
As you age, have a family, enjoy the profound pleasures of a modest life and the peaceful retreat of relative obscurity, I think most of us come to regard a life like that lived by Gumm/Garland as a curse and a tragedy ... even if it's set to music and recorded in Technicolor.