ET sat down with the late Judy Garland‘s daughters, Liza Minnelli and Lorna Luft, for a special ET exclusive, and they shared priceless memories of growing up with the beloved movie star as their mother.
The “Wizard of Oz” star would have been 100 years old on June 10, but she died in 1969 of an accidental drug overdose. She was 47 years old. Garland had 75-year-old Minnelli with her second husband, Vincente Minnelli, and 69-year-old Luft is Garland’s daughter with her third husband, Sidney Luft. The two talked to ET’s Kevin Frazier about getting to spend time with legendary stars growing up thanks to their mother, including Humphrey Bogart, Lana Turner and Sammy Cahn.
“But it was so funny, if Momma was in the room, nobody cared,” Minnelli notes about Garland’s charisma even amid other stars. “She was so funny. She was fun.”
Luft adds, “I know this is going to sound strange, but I’ve said it so many times, it was our normal. We didn’t know they were famous; we didn’t know they were different. They were our parents’ friends. That was the neighbourhood.”
One memory that sticks out for Luft is her encounter with Marilyn Monroe.
“We’re having a party one night, and I woke up and there was this woman sitting on my bed just looking at me,” she recalls. “And she was backlit, through the door was half open. And she just looked at me and she said, ‘I just wanted to see if you were OK,’ or whatever she said, and I said ‘OK.’ And I had never seen hair colour quite like that, right? So, the next morning I went down, and I was talking to my momma, I said, ‘Momma, somebody was in my bed, my bedroom, talking to me.’ And she said, ‘Oh honey, it was Marylin. Monroe.'”
The two sisters are extremely close, and note that their mother would have wanted it that way. They also have a brother, Joey Luft, though they note that he’s camera-shy.
“Born into what we were born into, we didn’t have a choice, but we made a choice to say to one another, it will always be the two of us, and who we decide to invite to the party will be our decision and that’s why,” Luft says of her bond with Minnelli.
One thing they say fans get wrong about their late mother is that she was only a tragic figure given her tough childhood and problems with addiction.
“That’s the thing that bugs me the most,” Minnelli says. “They would say tragic Judy Garland and I’d say, ‘Oh shut up.’ It was her humour and her kindness. … With her family, she was hilarious.”
Luft adds, “I’ve always said this … we’ve all had tragedies in life, but we’re not tragic. And she had tragedies, but 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.”
The sisters are now honouring their late mother with the new unisex fragrance “Judy” by chemist Vince Spinnato, which launches in June. One fitting ingredient in the scent is the very fragrant Judy Garland Rose, and Spinnato told ET that they had to plant thousands of Judy Garland Roses for not only the fragrance, but for the launching event in honour of what would have been Garland’s 100th birthday.
“And it smells like Momma,” Minnelli notes.
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