How Many Children Did Judy Garland Have?

The following article includes mentions of addiction.

With hits like "Meet Me In St. Louis," "A Star is Born," and 1939's "The Wizard of Oz," Judy Garland was the embodiment of Old Hollywood stardom. The triple threat performer — known then as Frances "Baby" Gumm — began singing at just 2 years old with her parents' encouragement. She took on the stage name "Garland" alongside her two older sisters, becoming one-third of a touring vaudeville trio. As reported by biographer David Shipman, the first name "Judy" came from a popular Hoagy Carmichael song of the same name.


At just 13, Garland was signed to MGM. Thanks to the studio heads that now dictated her schedule, amphetamines (aka "uppers") and sleep-inducing barbiturates became part of the young teen's life. She was rushed between sets, refused meals, and forced to fit inside unhealthy body standards — all the while, the star was expected to maintain her powerful vocal chops. "My life was a combination of absolute chaos and absolute solitude," she later recalled, according to The New York Times. Garland, who died in 1969 at the age of 47, married a total of five times throughout her life. She had one child from her second marriage to director Vincente Minnelli, and two from her third marriage to the producer Sid Luft. 


In the decades since "The Wizard of Oz" premiered and Judy Garland became a household name, her three children have become famous in their own right. Here's what you need to know about Liza, Lorna, and Joey.

Liza Minnelli is Judy Garland's eldest child

Perhaps best known for her Oscar-winning turn as Sally Bowles in the 1972 film "Cabaret," Liza Minnelli is Judy Garland's eldest child. She's also won an Emmy, four Tony awards, and a couple of Grammys — that officially makes her a part of the EGOT club. Minnelli, born in 1946, was raised in the spotlight. As she told Variety in a 2020 interview, "My parents were my parents. I didn't know that I had to dodge questions about Mama until people started asking me questions."


According to Minnelli, her mother would grow frustrated with the near-constant swarm of reporters. "I'd tickle her when she was really angry or upset about something. I'd take her by the hips and put her on the bed or on the couch. This is when I'm like 5," the "Cabaret" star remembered. By this point, Garland and Vincente Minnelli had already called it quits — the former was struggling with her addiction to barbiturates, and the latter's sexuality was regularly under fire in the gossip pages. Liza Minnelli grew up shoulder-deep in the industry, touring with her mother and learning the ins and outs of show business. Despite the obvious hardships, she's described it as a happy childhood (via Vogue Arabia).


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Liza Minnelli performed on her mother's variety show

"Imagine calling Judy Garland Mama," Jerry Van Dyke says to a 17-year-old Liza Minnelli on Episode 3 of the short-lived "Judy Garland Show" (via YouTube), taped in 1963. "Imagine calling Mama Judy Garland," she quips. In front of a live studio audience, the mother-daughter duo sang songs like "Two Lost Souls" and "We Could Make Such Beautiful Music Together" — while still a teenager, Minnelli kept up with her mother's rich, distinctive vocals. The next year, they teamed up again at London's Palladium Theater, singing and dancing for sold-out crowds, per The New York Times. 


"It was the strangest feeling," Minnelli remembered in a conversation with Vogue Arabia, adding, "One minute I was on stage with my mother, the next moment I was on stage with Judy Garland. One minute she smiled at me, and the next minute she was like the lioness that owned the stage and suddenly found somebody invading her territory."

Like her mother before her, Liza Minnelli went on to headline solo stage shows like 1974's "Liza" and 2008's "Liza's at the Palace." Over the course of her decades-long career, Minnelli has been able to establish herself independently from — while still honoring — her mother's legacy.

Lorna Luft wrote a memoir about her childhood

Lorna Luft is Judy Garland's second-born daughter, the product of her 13-year marriage with producer Sidney Luft. Like her half-sister Liza Minnelli (not to mention her mother), Luft is an actor, singer, and dancer, having appeared in stage shows like "Promises, Promises" and the film "Grease 2." In 1998, she published a memoir detailing her star-studded childhood, her mother's addiction, and the countless under-reported cheerful moments in the Garland-Luft household.


In 2016, on the 47th anniversary of her mother's passing (and the Stonewall riots), Luft performed an emotional rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" at Manhattan's 54 Below. "I said I would never sing this song, and it's not because it was too emotional for me. But my mother died when she was 47 years old, and it has been 47 years since the Stonewall Uprising," she said onstage, adding, "If there was ever a time to sing it, now is the time" (via Playbill).  

Garland was a beloved queer icon, and her funeral was long-rumored to have been a catalyst for the Stonewall Uprising, although this has been largely disproven.

Joey Luft is the youngest of the bunch

Joey Luft, born in 1955 to Judy Garland and Sidney Luft, is the actress' third and final child. He's also managed to stay mostly behind the cameras, with a few rare exceptions. "She always tried to be there for us, giving us support and lots of love," he remembered in a conversation with Closer Weekly. He recalled watching "The Wizard of Oz" for the first time as a kid and being frightened when the flying monkeys kidnapped Dorothy, who was simply "mom" in his mind.


Alongside his older sisters Lorna and Liza, Joey appeared on Episode 12 of "The Judy Garland Show," the Christmas Special, even singing a rendition of "Where Is Love" from the musical "Oliver!" (via YouTube). In 2014, Luft paid tribute to his mother, producing "A Judy Garland Concert With Joey Luft" at The Pasadena Playhouse (via the Los Angeles Times).

Liza, Lorna, and Joey were featured in the biopic Judy

The 2019 biopic "Judy" featured Renée Zellweger in the titular role, marking one of the actress' most dramatic transformations yet. "She's such a legend," Zellweger said of Garland in a 2019 interview with The Guardian. "But there's so much to the human being as well. You want her to come across as big as she was, but also show the woman." 


Liza, Lorna, and Joey — as well as Sidney Luft — are all featured in the movie. Gemma-Leah Devereux and "The Last of Us" star Bella Ramsey took on the roles of Liza and Lorna, respectively. Joey was played by Lewin Lloyd.

Liza Minnelli famously spoke out against the film on Facebook prior to its release. Lorna Luft, too, told "Good Morning Britain" that she didn't plan to watch the movie, noting, "I'm really protective of my mom's legacy." The film follows Garland during her "Wizard of Oz" days as well as in the final year of her life and earned Renée Zellweger an Academy Award.