According to a new book written by her third husband, The Wizard of Oz sent Judy Garland on a road to ruin. The movie icon starred as Dorothy when she was just 16 years old.
According to her husband, Sid Luft, the teen actress was put on a drastic diet and the production team stuffed her with all kinds of pills so she could work crazy hours.
Garland’s MGM execs put her on a diet of chicken soup and coffee to keep her skinny for her role in The Wizard of Oz, wrote Luft.
Although Luft passed away in 2005 at age 89, author Randy L. Schmidt completed his autobiography.
“They had us working days and nights on end. They’d give us pills to keep us on our feet long after we were exhausted,” said Garland herself.
“…they’d knock us out with sleeping pills. After four hours they’d wake us up and give us pep pills again so we could work 72 hours in a row,” recalled the actress.
The book also reveals that Garland even slashed her wrists, trying to kill herself. Her husband was horrified when he learned how they mistreated her.
Luft said of the MGM brass back then, “Feeding narcotics to children was a deep, dark secret known only to those at the studio and the government.”
In 1953, Garland took pills for insomnia and fell asleep while smoking in a bedroom.
“Around 5am I was awakened by the smell of smoke. I ran into the master bedroom and the place was ablaze. Judy had made her way to the bed, where she’d passed out. I pulled her out of bed and called the fire department. Lorna, Liza and their nurse were quickly taken out. Our lives were in danger,” wrote Luft. The actress died of an overdose at age 47 in 1969.
“When our relationship eventually developed into a commitment, I could detect Judy’s pill intake by her eyes, the pupils changing like a cat’s in the noonday sun.”