Judy and I: My Life with Judy Garland

When Judy Garland married her third husband, Sid Luft, in 1952, he was a low-level agent making deals with poverty row studios like Monogram Pictures, and she was a star without a studio. "She had a track record six miles long of hysteria, attempted suicide, and walking off of movie sets," writes Luft, who became her agent and began repairing her reputation by setting up cross-country concert dates.

During their 13-year marriage, Garland ricocheted between triumphs (two children and two Oscar nominations) and turmoil (pill addiction, numerous hospitalizations and rehab stints). As the producer of Garland's comeback film, 1954's A Star Is Born, Luft offers an insightful look at its making (both Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra wanted to co-star) and unmaking (the greedy studio cut the three-hour film to 100 minutes to gain more daily showings and the movie sunk).

Luft worked on Judy and I for decades, but only completed the chronology up to 1960 before his 2005 death. Randy L. Schmidt (Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter) shaped the manuscript, sorted through a mountain of research and completed this compelling memoir. It now ends with Garland's overdose death in 1969 at the age of 47. Luft is a controversial figure to many Garland fans. Was he a savior or exploiter? His warts-and-all approach toward Garland ("She was married to the drugs before she met me and she never really got divorced") is equally critical of his younger self. Judy & I is a gossip-lover's delight, but it's also heartfelt, tough and sad. --Kevin Howell, independent reviewer and marketing consultant

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