Celebrity Health

18 Celebrities Who Have Died from Substance Abuse

9. Judy Garland

Judy Garland, a singer, actress, and vaudeville performer, is legendary for her performance as Dorothy in the classic Wizard of Oz.

In the late 1940s, she began to suffer an emotional breakdown. She was exhausted from years of constant work. She was also worn-out from all the medications she had relied on to keep herself going. These physical and emotional difficulties began interfering with her career, and she developed a reputation for being unstable and unreliable. In 1950, MGM even ended her contract; her career appeared to be spiraling downward.

However, the dedicated performer made a comeback and rebuilt her career. She won a Tony Award for her work on Broadway. She was nominated for multiple Academy Awards for her acting, and she earned two Grammy Awards for her singing.

The talented star had a remarkably successful career, but her personal life was wrought with trouble. By the time she played Dorothy at age 16, she was already addicted to amphetamines and barbiturates, and she was developing alcoholism. The teenage starlet was routinely exploited, humiliated, and sexually abused by older men working at MGM.

Garland’s abusive mother had pushed her into acting at an early age. MGM ruthlessly overworked their child stars. When the teenagers were too exhausted to perform, the studio executives and even Garland’s own mother forced them to take pep pills and adrenaline shots to stay awake. As a side effect, the teens later had difficulty falling asleep, so they were given barbiturates and sleeping pills.

At a young age, Garland was deeply insecure about her looks. She was constantly surrounded by glamorous, mature starlets. Louis B Mayer, the cruel head of MGM, was incessantly critical of Garland’s physical appearance. He was constantly applying prosthetics to cover her nose and teeth, her waist was crushed in a restrictive corset, and she was forced to adhere to a starvation diet. Mayer even sent people to spy on Garland to ensure she was sticking to her strict diet of chicken soup, black coffee, and 80 cigarettes per day to curb her appetite. If she cheated on her diet, she was taken to the doctor’s office and given diet pills.

Even as a young girl, she was forced to take pills to lose weight, stay awake, or fall asleep. Her  father died when she was only 13, and she was incredibly lonely after his death. She once stated that the only time she felt accepted, comfortable, and safe was on the stage. When she was pregnant, she was forced to have an abortion, because the studio wanted her to maintain her “good-girl” image.

After a life of hardship and heartbreak, Garland died of a drug overdose at age 47.

Photo source: Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney Wallpaper by rebarocks