Words that come to mind when you mention her name: Legend. Star. Superstar. Tragic. Iconic. Downward spiral. Brilliant. Incomparable. I could go on. Frank Sinatra called her “the greatest entertainer of all time,” which says a great deal from someone who has been called that himself.
When Judy married her fourth husband, Mark Herron, aboard a freighter off the coast of Hong Kong in 1964, it was Hollywood news, as she was legally still married to Sidney Luft at the time. Herron, an actor, had been the tour promoter on her disastrous 1964 Australian tour. I caught up with them in their hotel room in Copenhagen in November 1965, after they had legally become husband and wife.
Judy was very personable and friendly, and when I asked her what her favorite song was, she immediately started singing “Over the Rainbow.” She continued to sing several more songs, which delighted not only Mark Herron and me, but Judy herself. An incredible private concert!
Today, she remains an icon for her many loyal fans. Renée Zellweger, who portrays Garland in the current film Judy, depicts the downward spiral of her troubled life. My wife, Gigi, was quietly sobbing during the gut-wrenching closing scene. We turned to each other and said, in unison, “Zellweger will win the Academy Award next year.”