Monday, June 22, 2009

Judy Garland: The Voice That Launched a Revolution

Forty years ago today, singer/dancer/actress and the diva by which all others are measured, Judy Garland died in her London hotel room of an accidental overdose of prescription sleeping pills.

My straight friends sometimes ask why the gays are so fascinated by Judy. Maybe it was her powerful voice that she belted from her petite frame and filled concerts halls to the rafters. She stood barely five feet tall, but she was a giant of an entertainer. Maybe it was her ability to come back time after time when everyone had written her off.

As a child, her family had been run out of her midwestern home town when her father was accused of taking indecent liberties with a young man. She had two gay husbands and and gave the world Liza Minelli, who also had (at least) two gay husbands. For whatever reason, we loved her and she loved us.

The Stonewall Riots took place on the evening following her funeral. Today on the 40th anniversary of her death, I'm posting her final TV performance on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" which aired December 17, 1968.

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