“Because her life was overacting”

Polly Bergen wasn’t a fan of Judy Garland’s—that’s her quote in the title bar, talking about Judy’s concerts:

It was devastating to watch her. The exhilaration of the high times, and the devastation of the low times, was just mind-blowing. If anyone else did what she did, you would call it extreme overacting. But when she did it, it was true and honest and real. Because her life was overacting.

images-2Geez, Polly, snippy much? “Operatic” would have been a more tactful adjective than “overacting.” Snark aside, it’s an interesting quote about Judy Garland’s style; how she channeled all that pain into art. It also opens up the age-old discussion about what defines “genius”—what’s the ratio of talent to determination, how far outside the status quo can an innovation travel before it’s just too weird to be taken seriously?

It’s fodder for a conversation over a couple drinks at the Mac some night. In the meantime, here’s some Judy Judy Judy:

Vanity Fair ran a dishy article about the road Judy traveled from near-death to her Carnegie Hall triumph in 1961.10_comeback_garland_mar2011

Bootlegged home movie footage from that night starts at 1:30 in this video.

If you’re not snuffling into a kleenex by now, this may be the capper: Barbara and Judy singing a C’mon Get Happy duet on Judy’s short-lived TV series.