Judy Garland's three children followed her down Yellow Brick Road to fame

Rachael Grealish June 11, 2022
Judy Garland's three children followed her down Yellow Brick Road to fame
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In her life, Judy Garland was many things, a talented singer, dancer, actress and the mother to three children who ended up following her down the Yellow Brick Road to fame.

Most people will remember Judy for her amazing voice and skills in the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz as well as many other Hollywood ‘Golden Age’ hits, and her career from childhood as well as her entire personal life – personal battles with drug addiction and five failed marriages – played out in the public eye

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Judy sadly passed away in 1969 from a barbiturates overdose at just 47 leaving behind her three children, Liza Minnelli, Lorna Luft, and Joey Luft.

Each of her children went on to experience various forms of fame, with two of them walking in their mother’s footsteps.

Liza Minnelli

Liza was born in 1946, the Golden Age of Hollywood, to her Oscar-winning parents – Judy and renowned award-winning director Vincente Minnelli.

Although choosing to be an actor like her mother, Liza broke out of her mother’s shadow and carved a career and name for herself.

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She’s probably best known for her role as Sally Bowles in the 1972 movie Cabaret, a performance that would go on to earn her an Academy Award for ‘Best Actress in a Leading Role’. The star has also won one Primetime Emmy Award, four Tony Awards and was honoured at the Grammys. Also like her mother, Liza has married several times.

Liza has spoken fondly of her childhood with her mother and addressed the ‘misconceptions’ people may have had about their relationship.

She once told Closer Weekly: “One of the biggest misconceptions about my mama is that she didn’t provide me with a happy childhood. There were highs and lows, for sure, but I can say I was very happy.

“As a teenager, I became her best friend and confidante. We would laugh and talk for hours,” she added.

Lorna Luft

Judy’s middle child Lorna was born in 1952 to her third husband Sidney Luft. Lorna entered fame in her own way and instead of pursuing an acting and film career, she went into music.

Lorna made her Broadway debut in 1971 when she was just a teenager and played a cast member in the musical, Promises, Promises. According to DC Metro Theatre Arts, her accomplishments include performances at Carnegie Hall and Studio 54 and she participated in tours of the famous musicals Grease, Guys and Dolls and Gypsy.

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She released a tell-all memoir in 2011 called Me and My Shadows where she spoke about her childhood and relationship with her mother.

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, she said: “She was not tragic, and she didn’t pass it on to us. Our mom had such an extraordinary sense of humour, and that was her survival guide. That is what I can tell you has been my lifeline is to find the funny — just find the funny.

“And we do, we just find the funny because I think that is the way that we were raised and brought up and we watched a woman who found the funny.”

Joey Luft

Joey is the youngest child, and only son, of Judy and was born in 1955 to her and her third husband Sidney. Joey followed his mother into fame in the sense he was simply born into it. Everyone knew him because of his famous parents and siblings.

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That’s not to say he didn’t walk in his mother’s footsteps in any way – when he was a teenager he was in Great Performance in 1971 and even appeared on his mother’s show, The Judy Garland Show, when he was a child. But he has mostly tried to keep out of the spotlight.

Joey opened up about the struggles his mother faced with addiction saying it was ‘hard to deal with’ when he was a child.

He told Closer Weekly: “There were times when my mom wasn’t acting right, so I’d ask my dad, ‘Is she sick?’ and he explained it all to me. It was exceptionally hard to deal with as a kid. I was powerless. She was a great person, but she had that addiction.”

He also said he remembered ‘having a lot of fun with her’ when they were alone though.

Photo by: Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
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Rachael is the Senior Content Editor at Freshered. She is NCTJ qualified with an MA in journalism. Rachael has almost ten years experience as a journalist in regional, national and international press and is passionate about creating engaging content.