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Judy Garland: "A Style is Born"
A journey through Judy's life and career through the eyes of her husband and manager Sid Luft.

(Continued from home page)

When Sid Luft and Judy Garland first met, it was 1938. She was filming Broadway Melody of 1938 and he had visited the set that day as a guest of Eleanor Powell. Little did either of them know then that, more than a decade later, a romance would blossom which would have profound effects on both of their lives. In 1950, Sid, then divorced from Lynn Bari, became Judy's theatrical manager and agent, just as she had left MGM and separated from husband Vincent Minnelli. During the first year of their relationship, Sid supervised a European tour for Judy and produced personal appearances in Birmingham, Manchester, Edinborougti, Dublin, Glasgow, Liverpool, Blackpool and Monte Carlo. In 1951, he presented "Judy Garland At The Palace Theatre", which ran for a record-breaking 19 weeks.

In 1952, Sid and Judy were married and, before 1953 rolled around, their first child, Lorna, was born.

A Star is Born

In 1953 Sid acquired the film rights from Edward Alperson to the motion picture A Star is Born for Judy which he produced for Warner Brothers as part of a nine picture deal which he negotiated. The following year, Judy Garland received an Academy Award nomination for her performance as Esther Bloggett in that film.

In March of 1955, Sid and Judy welcomed their second child, Joey, and in September of that year Sid produced a seven city tour for his wife which played in San Diego, Long Beach, Eugene and Portland, Oregon, Vancouver, Canada, Spokane and Seattle. He also produced the "Ford Star Jubilee" for Ford Motor Company.

Live Performances

Recognizing Judy's profound affect on audiences during her tour in 1950 and '51 and her theatrical stage show, "L.A. Philharmonic At San Francisco's Curran Theater" which he produced in 1953, Sid encouraged Judy to do more live performances. In 1956, he produced "General Electric Theater", as well as a nightclub act for her at the New Frontier Hotel which ran for six weeks. In September of 1956, he went on to produce her second New York Palace Theater show, which ran 17 weeks, continuing into 1957. He then produced her shows at the Flamingo Hotel, Los Angeles Greek Theater, Dallas State Fair, Washington D.C. Capital Theater, Philadelphia Massbaum Theater, at the Dominion Theatre and the Palace Theatre in London, in October, which ran for four weeks.

In 1958, Luft produced "Judy Garland At The Coconut Grove", the Chicago Orchestra Hall Concert, and her Las Vegas Sands Hotel concert. In 1959, he produced a show for her at the New York Metropolitan Opera House, the Chicago Civic Opera House, the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House, and the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, each with fifty musicians and a cast of sixty. In 1960, Sid produced Judy In London, a two-record set for Capital Records, as well as her two midnight Sunday concerts at the London Palladium, two concerts at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, and concerts in Leeds and Birmingham, England. That same year, he produced Garland's two concerts at the Olympia Theater in Paris, France, and two concerts In Frankfurt and Wiesbaden, Germany to help Jack Kennedy gain the write- in vote from American soldiers. He also produced the London Palladium Royal variety Gala and a midnight gala for Judy Garland in Amsterdam, Holland.

In 1960, in association with Edward Alperson, Luft formed Aerophonics (Theater In The Sky), a development of a stereophonic system ostensibly to entertain audiences in commercial aircraft. He then became a consultant to William Lear in Waco, Texas, and Los Angeles, California.

1962, performed demonstrations of the Aerophonics system for all of the major airlines. Later that same year he traveled to Stockholm to demonstrate the system for SAS Airlines, and to London to do the same for BOAC. He also demonstrated the system for the United states Air Force on a flight which carried eighty enlisted men and fifteen officers from New Jersey to Wiesbaden, Germany. He performed another Air Force demonstration on a return flight which carried eighty mentally and physically ill hospital patients, virtually converting the aircraft into an airborne ambulance. In 1963, he performed demonstrations in New York City for American Airlines, Pan Am Airlines, United Airlines, Continental Airlines, and for Air France in 1964.

TV Specials

Luft executive produced two television specials for Judy Garland in 1962, including one with long time friends Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. The specials led to a weekly series which ran from 1963 through 1964, guest starring some of the top names in the music business and featuring Judy's three children, Liza Minnelli, Lorna and Joey.

Although Sid Luft and Judy Garland divorced in 1965, Sid continued managing Judy's career, booking her into Westburry Music Fair in Boston in 1966. In the spring of 1967, he made a distribution deal for her with Pathe Pictures and booked and managed a number of prestigious concerts for her in the eastern United States, as well as Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas and the famed "Judy Garland At The Palace Theater" in New York City, which ran for four weeks.

In 1968, Sid and Judy finally severed their working relationship, their two children living primarily with Sid at his West Los Angeles home. Judy was to live only another year, yet her memory has remained a vital part of Sid's life. In 1983 Luft would produce "Judy Garland, The Concert Years", a loving tribute to his former wife for PBS.

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